inaiujinai IIBKAKY OF MEDICINE
NATIONAL LIBRARY OF MEDICINE
American Amnn anrp
DR. JAMES R. JUDD
Dr. James R. Judd
Chapter I. Honolulu to France 9
Chapter II. Paris 15
Chapter III. American Ambulance of Xeuilly-Sur-Seine.... 19
Chapter IV. The British Tommy's Story 28
Chapter V. The American Ambulance of Juilly 32
Chapter VI. Life in the Ambulance 38
Chapter VII. The Surrounding Country 43
Chapter VIII. The Wounded from the Battle of Champagne 47
Chapter IX. Robert's Story 54
Chapter X. The Trials of a Medecin Chef 62
Chapter XI. Holidays and Festivals 67
Chapter XII. Senlis 73
Chapter XIII. The Battlefield of the Marne 79
Chapter XIV. Aviators 86
Chapter XV. Incidents and Observations 89
Chapter XVI. Fragments 96
Chapter XVII. Soldiers' Stories 104
A School Teacher's Story 109
A Foreign Legion Soldier's Story 114
Sunny Jim's Story 1 1 7
The Chasseur's Story 118
Chapter XVIII. A Trip to the Front 123
Chapter XIX. Leaving France and Home Again 136
America n Automobiles ready to go to railway stations for wounded. .. 20
A Decoration at Xeuilly 22
The last three British Tommies at the American Ambulance cared for
by American nurses 24
After the decoration of the Zouave and his famous dog Which dug
him out of an exploded mine 26
American Ambulance branch hospital in the College of .Tuilly 33
School boys of the College of .Tuilly 36
A Cemetery of German dead on the battlefield of the Maine, cared
for by the French Government 45
Dr. and Mrs. .Tudd with a group of poilus and nurses at .Tuilly 49
Breton peasants who have come to visit their son who is badly
A ward decorated for Christmas 70
German "Kultur" at Senlis 74
Crucifix in the hospital at Senlis, surrounded by bullet holes made by
German guns 77
Where an officer and fourteen of his men are buried on the battle-
field of the Marne 80
Where the Germans burned two thousand dead at Poligny 83
American Aviators, Prince, McConnell and Rockwell 87
Decoration of sixteen heroes from Verdun 91
A funeral procession going from the hospital to the village church 93
A soldier's burial 95
French peasants at the bedside of their wounded son mi
The ruined village of Souain joi
of the Marne
ed with white
Hags. -Late one
in 1915 a peas-
a n t woman
leading- a litlle
child by the
hand was seen
w a n d e ring
from grave to
n a m e s in-
scribed on the
little w h i t e
for the grave
of their sol-
win) had died for his country and for us and our civiliza-
tion. This picture has ever remained vivid in my mind.
What is to become of the fatherless children of France?
Should not we Americans show our appreciation of the
sacrifices made by the noble French fathers by helping
to care for their children and so help rebuild the nation ?
This little book was written with the idea that the en-
tire profits of its sale will go to help the fatherless chil-
dren of France. The material is based on stories told
by wounded in our care and on experiences as recorded
in home letters during the period from July 1915 to
October 1916 when the writer and his wife had the great
privilege of living* with the poilus and playing a small
part in the great struggle for freedom.
With the American Ambulance
HONOLULU TO FRANCE.
When the great war began in August, 1914, there were
several hundred Americans in Paris. Many of them were
tourists, visiting Paris as part of the grand tour of the
continent. The others belonged to the so-called American
colony and because of their long residence there con-
sidered Paris their home.
When the Germans hacked their way through Belgium
and the vast horde of Huns streamed across the frontier
toward the heart of France, carrying death and destruc-
tion in their wake, somewhat of a panic developed in
Paris among those who were anxious to get away.
Crowds collected in front of the banks eager to get
money. Hotels and shops demanded cash payments.
Paper money was discounted and gold was at a premium.
Holders of large letters of credit suddenly found them-
selves poor. The train service was overtaxed and inade-
quate to handle the crowds, and automobiles were hired
at fabulous prices. Trunks were left behind in the mad
rush. As an illustration of the state of mind, a friend
told me that an excited American rushed up to him on
the street exclaiming, "Do you speak English? I will
give you $500 to get me out of Paris."
The Americans divided themselves into two classes.
First, there were those who were part of the crowd of
fugitives and resorted to every means in their power in
order to effect their escape. The others were those who,
loyal to the dictates of their moral obligation, resolved
to stay to the last extremity and aid the city they loved.
10 With the American Ambulance in France.
Among these last there was fortunately an organization
comprising the American Hospital of Paris, an admirable
institution, which for several years past had been main-
tained by Americans. With the American Hospital as a
basis of unity the American Ambulance was founded and
its services were offered to the French government.
On the third day of September, when the Germans were
at Compiegne, barely 50 miles away, the French govern-
ment moved to Bordeaux. The Americans were released
from their promised service, leaving them free to escape
from the investment of Paris which, at that time, seemed
inevitable. To the eternal honor of our fellow country-
men be it remembered that they refused to accept the
release from their promise and decided to cast their lot
and if necessary risk their lives with the people of Paris.
Then came the battle of the Marne and Paris was saved.
From a small beginning the Ambulance grew to an or-
ganization caring for over 1500 wounded a day and
maintaining- more than 300 ambulances on duty in Paris
and at the front. The cost of maintaining this work has
been borne entirely by the American people.
It is difficult to estimate the value of the work of the
American Ambulance in this war. No less important
than the material aid rendered the French wounded has
been the moral effect of the organization of cultivating
and maintaining a friendly feeling for America and every
worker in the Ambulance — doctor, nurse and ambulance
driver — on returning to America has been an ardent
proselyte, burning with a sense of righteousness of the
cause of the Allies and eager for the United States to
take her proper place in the struggle.
It was to join this organization that we started for
France on June 12, 1915, and a few weeks later we found
ourselves aboard the steamship "St. Louis" leavino- New
York harbor. A little crowd of friends was at the wharf
to say farewell, but there was no band or "leis."
The "St. Louis" was an old ship, steady in smooth
weather, but not over clean or comfortable. The label
Honolulu to France.
"American Line" was painted in huge white letters on
the ship's sides. At night a cluster of electric lights with
a reflector was lowered over each side and so placed
that the letters were well illuminated. The ship was
crowded. Since the war the American line has come into
sudden popularity and consequently the rates have risen.
We had a deck stateroom for which we paid $300 plus
a $10 war tax. The hath was a tiny affair and a long
ways off in the bowels of the ship. The sanitary ar-
rangements left much to be desired. The food was fairly
good. There was an orchestra of five pieces which played
during meal time. Altogether we got on quite well and
had no kick coming, provided the old tub landed us
safely at Liverpool. We had provided ourselves with
life preserver jackets in New York and kept them handy.
The last night out, as we were in the danger zone, many
of the passengers camped out on deck and talked most
of the night.
On July 19th land appeared and at eight o'clock in
the evening we sailed up the Mersey and were docked at
Liverpool. While it was still light, we lined up in the
saloon, our passports were inspected and stamped by a
benevolent looking old gentleman and we climbed off the
St. Louis, grateful that our voyage was safely over.
Liverpool looked as grimy and unattractive as usual.
It was Sunday night and everything was quiet. There
were no signs of war. We managed to lay in a supply
of newspapers, fruit and candy and an hour or so before
midnight we started on a special steamer train for
London. We sped through the dark night at a great rate
of speed and could not help contrasting the superiority
of the English railroad travel over that of the United
States. There were no sudden stops and jerks such as
one encounters unexpectedly anywhere from San Fran-
cisco to New York. The towns we passed through were
dimly lighted on account of Zeppelins. The curtains of
our train were drawn so that the light did not shine out.
At half past three in the morning we reached Euston
12 With the American Ambulance in France
station and a great scramble for luggage ensued. Finally
we extricated our baggage, piled it on a "four wheeler
and hied ourselves to the Savoy Hotel. At the hotel two
pieces of baggage were found to be missing, so I dashed
back to the station in a taxi and found the two bags
safely reposing on the platform just where we had left
them. The station was now full of sailors who had ar-
rived there just after us. As I started back to the Savoy
several sailors tried to hail my taxi, so I stopped and told
them to "pile in." The taxi was rapidly filled to its ca-
pacity, and those who couldn't find room on the seats,
sat on the steps and mud-guards. A much whiskered
tar, smelling of salt water and tobacco, was my seat
companion. He said that they were sailors of the North
Sea fleet and were crossing London to Victoria station
on their way to Portsmouth, he thought. Patrolling the
North Sea was bitterly cold work and they were longing
for the German fleet to come out. It was then broad day-
light and we passed several dignified bobbies who yelled
at the sailors to get off the running boards, to which the
tars responded in true democratic fashion by applying
their thumbs to their noses and actively wiggling their
London seemed very much the same as on previous
visits and gave one the same comfortable and home-like
feeling. There was a little less street traffic and fewer
American tourists were in evidence. A good many uni-
forms were to be seen on the streets, and huge posters
and notices calling for enlistments were prominently dis-
played. There were recruiting stations here and there,
but we saw few recruits. We hunted up our favorite res-
taurant, the "Cheshire Cheese," and enjoyed a delicious
dinner of sole, chops, pigeon pie, peas and toasted cheese.
At the "Empire" afterwards we saw a mediocre per-
formance before a crowded house, with orchestra seats
at 10s apiece.
At the French consulate hundreds of people were ahead
of us waiting to get their papers. The work was so heavy
Honolulu to France.
that an adjoining residence was used to handle the crowd.
Finally after several hours waiting- we received tickets
from the porter and when our numbers were called we
were allowed to enter a large living room already filled
with all kinds of people. Women and children composed
the majority of those waiting and all looked very weary.
Finally the numbers are called again and we proceeded
upstairs to a room where several officials were seated at
small tables. In turn each one of us was seated at a table
facing an official and subjected to an inquiry as to the
reasons for wishing to go to France. I showed several
letters which produced little effect until letters from Dr.
Ma rques, French Consul of Honolulu, stating in French
the object of our journey, were read. These letters were
like magic and our passports were given us without fur-
At ten the next morning we left London for Folke-
stone. The usual charming views of rural England were
changed by seeing here and there training camps and
bodies of troops drilling in the fields. Aside from that
it was hard to tell that this mighty nation was at war.
At Folkestone we formed in line, passed through a docket
and our papers were examined and stamped. We were
then allowed to proceed aboard the channel steamer
"Sussex." No staterooms were to be had, so we pro-
cured steamer chairs and prepared for the worst of our
four and a half hours trip to Dieppe. There were many
vessels to be seen in the channel as we left the English
shore and several destroyers gave us a feeling of se-
curity. Soon we passed out of sight of land, ships and
destroyers and were alone. There was quite a sea and
the spray splashed over us sitting out on deck. The
weather was surprisingly cold and chilly. The steamer
was crowded with passengers, most of them seasick, and
they were not always particular to get to leeward when
they had to pay tribute to Neptune. I remember seeing a
little French cabin-boy or "mousse" trying to persuade a
disconsolate looking English boy that it was desirable
14 With the American Ambulance in France.
to pass his fingers clown his throat. This pantomime
continued for some time, but the English lad either would
not be persuaded or felt too badly to attempt it.
The cold gray water of the channel looked very un-
inviting. We wondered if there were any German sub-
marines around and if this part of the channel was pro-
tected by a steel net. We were all subject to a feeling of
helplessness as we had at least expected an escort. That
our fears were not groundless was shown by subsequent
events when the "Sussex" was torpedoed, and this act of
barbarism became an international question.
A trip never seemed so slow, until finally we feasted
our eyes on the white cliffs of Dieppe, which looked so
much like those we had left at Folkestone, as if the land
had been cleft and pushed apart.
At Dieppe there was the animation and vivacity of
conversation that one finds in a French seaport town.
Once again we were herded into line and our papers ex-
amined and stamped. But nothing mattered now. We
were on the beloved soil of France again.
A surprisingly good train carried us to Paris in three
hours. While we enjoyed an excellent table d'hote din-
ner for five francs, we looked out of the car windows at
the peaceful Normandy country and could not realize
that the most terrible warfare the world has ever seen
was in progress a few miles away.
At the Paris station we were delighted to find that our
baggage had come through with us, and taking it along
in our fiacre we were soon comfortably settled at the
splendid Edouard VII hotel.
How thrilling, almost magical after a good sleep to
wake up in Paris, stroll out on the boulevards, rub one's
eyes and realize that we are really there ! The weather
was delightful for midsummer, a temperature of 70°
with clear sunny skies. Beautiful flowers were grouped
for sale at the street corners. We recognized our old
friends the Opera, Cafe de la Paix, the Madeleine and
the Place de la Concorde at the end of the rue Royale.
Even in Paris it is hard to realize that war is at hand.
There are soldiers to be seen here and there. Some of
them are crippled, walking with crutches or have band-
ages on their heads. There are a good many women
in mourning. Nearly all the shops are open and the
larger magasins like the Lafayette and Printemps, are
crowded with shoppers. The restaurants are well filled
with patrons and there is the same long menu of delicious
food with apparently little elevation of prices. We no-
ticed only that the Grand Vatel and Tour d'Argent are
closed. The Louvre is closed but a part of the Luxem-
burg is open, also the Musee Carnavalet. The big,
noisy busses are no more. This is not a matter of regret
as they are doing useful work at the front transporting
troops. Women do men's work as conductors on the
trains and metro, driving fiacres and cleaning streets. I
have never seen the streets of Paris so clean. The banks
close from twelve to two on account of the lack of em-
ployees and many of the stores do the same. There are
crowds of people sitting out on the sidewalks of the
cafes in the delightful Paris fashion. At ten o'clock the
cafes close and no music is allowed in any restaurants.
At night one notices a great difference from the Paris
of peace times. The night life of Montmarte is no more.
The Bal Bouiller, Moulin Rouge and other places from
which Americans have gained erroneous ideas of French
16 With the American Ambulanc e^Pr ance .
life and character, are closed. The streets are quite dark
but not as dark as we found them in London. The dark-
ening of the streets is for two reasons. First as a pre-
caution against Zeppelin raids, and second, as a matter of
economy. Most of the theatres are running, but grand
opera will not be attempted. On a Sunday afternoon
we had a four hours' musical treat at the Opera Comique.
Charpentier's "Louise" was given admirably. The house
was crowded, many of the audience being soldiers and
some of them convalescents with their arms in slings or
their heads bandaged. It was pathetic to see a number
of blind soldiers in the audience. At the end of the per-
formance Madame Chenal sang the soul-stirring "Mar-
seillaise" with the audience standing. We could feel
thrills run up and down our backs.
Although music is forbidden in cafes and restaurants,
yet the government thinks that good music is a beneficial
tonic for the people, and there are fine concerts in the
Tuilleries and Luxembourg gardens. Soldiers attend
these concerts in large numbers and the music receives
much appreciation as shown by the attention and ap-
On bright sunny afternoons we enjoyed sitting out on
the sidewalk of the Cafe de la Paix and watching the
crowds pass by. War does not prevent the Parisians
from enjoying this pleasure, and although there are many
uniforms and some mutiles to be seen, it is hard to realize
that men are being killed barely fifty miles away.
With all the losses and suffering France has endured
there is no depression, but a smiling philosophical attitude
is apparent on all sides. Truly it takes a war to show a
nation's real character.
We heard an interesting spy story the other day. A
French girl who had lived in Alsace and knew the Ger-
man language stepped on a man's foot as she was enter-
ing the Metro. The man was dressed as an English of-
ficer and to her surprise he swore a German oath. She
resolved to follow him. so got off when he did and reported
him to a gendarme, who shrugged his shoulders and
wouldn't do anything. She then followed him to a house
and noting the address, sped to the nearest police station.
The house was quickly raided and not only was the spu-
rious English officer caught but two other spies and a
quantity of incriminating papers.
Germany had the most complete spy system the world
has ever seen. Not only was Paris well covered but the
country towns and villages as well. The authorities have
warned the people to be on their guard by attaching no-
tices in public places "Taisez-vous, Mefiez-vous. Les
oreilles d'ennemis vous eContent." This warning was not
taken very seriously and was a favrrite theme for jest at
One of the chief topics of conversation is, "When will
the war end ?" Great things are always expected of the
offensive ''next year," after the bad winter weather is
over. There is some talk of the pinch of starvation in
Germany and the possibilities of a revolution. It seems
that thinking people do not take much stock in these
The starvation of Germany is counter-balanced by
Germany's food economies and her increased agricul-
tural acquisitions in Belgium, Northern France, Poland
and Servia. Thousands of prisoners furnish much of
the agricultural labor. A revolution is discredited be-
cause the great mass of the German people have been
taught and trained that the government should do their
thinking for them. No, the war will be brought to an end
by military superiority, and that means a long and bloody
conflict. The battle of the Marne saved Paris, saved
France, saved civilization. The noble Belgian defense,
the heroism of the French soldier and "the contemptible
little British army" at the battle of the Marne crumpled
up Germany's plan of world conquest right at the start.
But without England's aid France would have been
paralyzed with most of her coal and iron mines in the
hands of the enemy. After the battle of the Marne
18 With the Ameri can Ambulance in France.
France's task was stupendous— to hold back the long
battle line until British troops could be trained and take
over a powerful position. This could never have been
accomplished without the superiority of the British navy.
Germany launched a tremendous attack at Verdun,
planning- to beat her way through by main force. Those
weeks and months of struggle were anxious days in
France. When news of the terrible slaughter became
generally known, there were questions among the civil-
ians : "Why don't they give up Verdun and let the Ger-
mans have it? It isn't worth all the slaughter." "No,"
the French soldier said "lis ne passeront pas." "Why
don't the English start an offensive to relieve the pressure
on Verdun?" "Don't you know the English are not
ready yet and they are carrying out Joffre's plan? They
will attack when the right time comes." We often
thought that the idea that the French were being sacri-
ficed at Verdun, while the British were inactive was part
of the subtle German propaganda.
We kept wondering what the United States was go-
ing to do in this great world mix-up. We came to France
with the idea that this was a European war, the breaking
of treaties and invasion of territory, far apart from
America. We were not long in France before we dis-
covered that the Allies were fighting for the very prin-
ciples on which the foundations of our liberty rest and
that there could be no such thing as neutrality of heart.
A German victory in Europe meant America as the next
victim in the world conquest. The Americans whom we
have talked with think that our country has played an
ignoble part thus far. We have made money out of the
war, lots of it, and have sent back very little in compari-
son to our gains. But there is a feeling of confidence that
the time will come when America will see that the Allies
are fighting our battles and that the United States will
take her place in the struggle for democracy
The American Ambulance of N cuiUy-Sur-Scinc. 19
THE AMERICAN AMBULANCE OF NEUILLY-
Going- up the Champs Elysees, past the Arc de Tri-
omphe and along the Avenue des Grandes Armees one
comes to the Porte Maillot. Passing through this gate
one enters the suburb of Neuilly and is now officially out
of Paris. As the taxi drivers can claim an extra rate
of fare after passing through the gate, we used to pay
off the driver at the gate, walk through and take another
taxi to drive to the Ambulance. That was in the early
days. Later on we learned to economize by going on
the tram or metro for 30 centimes.
At the beginning of the war a splendid new school
building, the Lycee Pasteur, was reaching completion.
The Board of Governors of the American Hospital in
Paris offered to the French government to maintain a
hospital for the care of wounded soldiers for the dura-
tion of the war, and this building was assigned to them.
It should not be forgotten that in the war of 1870 the
Americans of Paris organized and maintained an Amer-
ican ambulance which rendered valuable service.
By completing the equipment and installing the neces-
sary hospital furniture, it was found that the Lycee Pas-
teur lended itself admirably for the purpose of a hospital.
The construction of the building with plenty of windows,
splendid lighting and ventilation rendered it an ideal hos-
pital building, and it is doubtful if among the 4,000 or
more war hospitals in France, there is a finer institu-
tion. There are accommodations for 600 patients in
round numbers with large wards and small wards for
officers and special cases. A number of the wards are
maintained by contributions from different cities and
states, and this fact is designated by names over the door-
ways — New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Vir-
The American Ambulance of Neuilly-Sur-Seine. 21
ginia, Rhode Island and others are there. We hope there
will be a "Hawaii Ward" some day.
The Ambulance Committee consists of :
Capt. Frank H. Mason. Chairman.
Lawrence V. Benet.
Dr. C. W. Du Bouchet.
F. W. Monahan.
L. V. Twyeffort.
Mrs. W. K. Yanderbilt.
Mrs. H. P. Whitney.
The surgical staff of about thirty doctors are almost
all volunteers from America, and some of our most fa-
mous surgeons have served there. Among them are Drs.
Blake, Hutchinson, Harte, Powers, Murphy, Cushing and
The dental department, organized by Dr. Hayes and
ably conducted by volunteer American dentists, has done
splendid work, especially in restoration of shattered jaws.
The nursing staff consists of about 90 trained nurses,
most of whom have come from America. There are a
large number of auxiliary nurses under the able direc-
tion of Mrs. George Munroe.
The orderly work is done by volunteers, business men,
artists, dilitantes, Rhodes scholars from Oxford and
A useful feature of the ambulance is the transportation
service. A large number of cars are ready day or night
to go the Gare la Chapelle, receive loads of wounded and
transport them to hospitals designated by the authorities.
The Field Service sections stationed at different parts
of the front render valuable service to the French and
have transported over 400,000 wounded. This part of the
ambulance service is ably directed by A. Piatt Andrews,
formerly assistant treasurer of the United States.
On my first visit to the hospital I hunted up my for-
mer teacher, Dr. Blake, and found him making "rounds."
He gave me a cordial welcome and upon my asking for
The American Ambulance of N cuiUy-Sur-Scinc. 23
work, said that there was plenty of it and that he would
be glad to have me join his staff.
The first sensation of a eivilian doctor on starting to
work in a ward of French soldiers is one of bewilder-
ment. There is a mass of wooden frames, pulleys and
weights holding shattered bones in comfortable positions.
The awful looking wounds make one wonder how a man
ever survived such an injury and then how will it be
possible to save these shattered limbs. At once one is
impressed by the courage, cheerfulness and patience of
the French soldier. Some are mere peasant boys of 18
to 20, others are educated men, merchants, school teach-
ers, law and medical students. The majority are coun-
try boys, sons of the soil. They all expect to get well
and most of them do. The worst cases are kept out on
porches, where they have the benefit of the fresh air and
At present all the patients are "old cases" and the op-
erations performed are for the removal of pieces of shell
and dead splinters of bone. The patients are carefully
X-rayed and the pieces of shell located. Then there is an
electrical apparatus invented by Professor Bergonie of
Bordeaux by means of which one can feel a piece of
shell vibrating in the rlesh. Even with these aids the
pieces of shell are very elusive and sometimes surpris-
ingly difficult to find. The work consists of morning
rounds with Dr. Blake, afterwards operations if there are
any to be done and then the dressings.
L. has been assigned to a small ward, where she makes
beds, helps at the "pansements," takes temperatures and
pulses, helps with the meals and in many other ways.
She looks real business-like in her French Red Cross
uniform and enjoys the work thoroughly.
The food served to the wounded is very good and the
blesses are very appreciative of what is done for them.
The approximate cost of maintaining the hospital is
$1,000.00 a day, and this is entirely a matter of subscrip-
The American Ambulance of Ncnilly-Sur-Scinc 25
In order to economize time we moved to a small villa
near the hospital, kept by the head waiter of the Ritz.
He is an Italian and speaks several languages and sets a
good table. We have our coffee in our room at 7 a. m.,
and are at the hospital at 8 o'clock. We have lunch in
the basement of the hospital with a crowd of 200, com-
posed of doctors, nurses, auxiliaries, ambulance drivers
and personnel and the noise is like that of a boiler fac-
tory. However, everyone seems to have a good appetite
and to be in good spirits. At night we are too tired to
go out, so dine at the Villa for 3 francs. For sixty cents
or less, as a franc is worth about 18 cents, we have a
delicious meal and the enemy barely 50 miles away.
Fancy getting any such meal in New York for 60 cents !
It can't be that the food itself is so much superior, but
it is the art in cooking it, in which the French excel.
It's a wonder that the blesses after the terrible expe-
riences they have been through are not more nervous.
With a few exceptions they are calm and patient. One
of our men lay badly wounded under a pile of dead men
for thirteen hours before he was rescued. The soldiers
say that the German line with its concrete fortifications
and heavy artillery is too strong to break through.
One of our patients was a boy of seventeen who ran
away to the army as he was too young to be called. He
was recovering from a wound of the abdomen and wrote
a verse of poetry for me which he entitled :
En Souvenir de ma Reconnaissance.
(Poeme, Sans Pretentions)
and concluded the poem as follows :
Vers vous Americains amis si precieux
Des bons soins que dans votre hopital j'ai recus
Je me souviendrai durant toute ma vie
Dites-moi? Comment voulez-vous que j'oublie?
Mais je ne veux pas donner de details menus
Ma reconnaissance vers vous s'envole
Semblable a un leger oiseau frivole.
The American Ambulance of N cuiUy-Sur-Seine. 27
Charmant petit oiseau, s'echappant du fond du coeur
Vous souhaitant pour toujours joie et bonheur.
In parenthesis he wrote in English : "Excuse my writ-
ing because I am in the bed."
A present je suis sauve et dans ce petit coin du n< ni-
veau monde transports clans notre chere France. Je suis
soigne admirablement, jamais je n'oublierai le denoue-
ment dont font preuve Infirmiers et Infirmieres. Leur
souvenirs restera toujours grave dans ma memoire. Vive
la France ! Vive les Americains !
A big tile-layer from Montreal responded to the call
of France and is now recovering from a bad wound of
the arm. He enjoys talking English and acting as inter-
preter for the nurses. A dapper little soldier lived several
years in New Orleans, speaks perfect English and seems
glad to be among Americans.
There is a Zouave in the ward who has lost a leg and
hobbles around on crutches. He owns a fine setter dog
which is the only animal pet of the hospital. The dog
was at the front with his master when the Germans ex-
ploded a mine under a section of trench. Fortunately
the dog was somewhat in the rear in the vicinity of a field
kitchen and had the opportunity of saving his master's
life. As soon as the explosion occurred the setter ran
up and, after digging furiously awhile, hauled the Zouave
out of a pile of earth. The soldier was unconscious and
had a leg badly mangled but survived his injuries. The
dog became a great favorite at the hospital and when the
Zouave was decorated, the setter received a special
In the wards are three British Tommies, all that are
left of the British wounded brought to the ambulance
after the battle of the Aisne. One of them was in the
retreat from Mons and gave me a graphic account of
those terrible days.
28 With the American Ambulance in Fran
THE BRITISH TOMMY'S STORY.
After serving- nine years in India and Burma, my time
expired on the third of June, 1914, leaving me three
years to serve on the reserve. I was just beginning to
enjoy civil life when suddenly, which everyone knows,
England declared war on Germany on the fourth of
August. Of course, that meant I had to be called to the
colors again. I reported at my depot as soon as pos-
sible. I was equipped and sent over to France and, on
about the fourteenth of August, I disembarked at Saint
Nazaire. I stayed there two days then went to join my
regiment in Belgium. I was not there very long before
I found out it was no joke but we held our own pretty
well until the twenty-sixth of August. We were at Mons
at the time and were forced to retire. They were all
over us. Well, we started off with the enemy at our
backs and I never had such an experience in my life.
The enemy was easily eight times our strength, so all we
could do was to keep tracking along and they were mow-
ing us down like sheep all the time. We were wonder-
ing why we could not retaliate and make a fight of it but
all we could get from our commanders was 'keep going.'
True, we had very little artillery and I am sure we would
have been slaughtered had we tried to make a stand.
Well, we obeyed our command. We were marching along
in our sleep at times. We were doing over thirty miles
some days. Of course, we were marching through the
night as well. Very little rest we got. As soon as we
did halt we could hardly get time for a rest before the
enemy was shelling us again and we had to make an-
About the worst part of the retirement I witnessed
happened to my regiment at a place called Meaux. This
w as on about the seventh day, I believe if was the third
of September. We had been marching all night and this
The British Tommy's Story.
was about 6 a. m. We came across what we thought was
a French outpost. Our colonel questioned them and they
reported "all clear" so he looked for a likely place to halt
us so that we could get a little snack which we were badly
in need of. At last we came across a large plot of open
ground with a nullah in it. We marched into this nul-
lah. Up to now my regiment had been very fortunate.
We had just been reinforced and were about 1,200 strong.
Our colonel gave us orders to pile arms and take off our
equipment. In less than ten minutes after we had done
so, a shower of bullets came in to us. We were sur-
rounded by Maxims from the top of the nullah and no
way out of it only to fly, which we did, most men leaving
their arms behind, but not only that, we left over 700
dead and wounded, all in a few minutes. But for the
Irish Fusiliers, who were on our left, we would have
lost more as they kept the enemy at bay until we got
under cover, when what was left of us got together
again. We did not amount to 500, and there were not
200 of us armed and we also lost our Maxims. The
outpost we took for French was a German outpost in
French uniforms. Tricky dogs !
The next day all the brigades got together, and it was
the same old thing. Retire. Retire. This was, I think,
about the ninth day of it and I am sure every man in the
British army was cribbing, as a soldier always does.
They were all saying, "When are we going to turn
around and get a smack at them ?"
That night General French visited our brigade, and
no doubt he visited the other brigades as well, for he
must have heard about the discontent among his troops,
and he said, "Men, if you will only finish this march,
which you must do, it will last through the night, and
tomorrow I will promise you a fight." There was not a
man who did not cheer him, and every man marched all
night with a good heart.
At daybreak the following morning we were seventeen
miles from Paris, but little we knew that then. General
30 With the American Ambulance in France.
French was as good as his word. We got a fight that
day. We turned about and, thank God, the retreat was
over. Then it became our turn. We started to advance
and we gave them something for their money. We never
left them alone. We would not give them time for wind.
We let them see that we were made of better stuff than
they were. They were surrendering by thousands, com-
pletely fagged out and we were shelling them now, mo-w-
ing them down worse than they did us, and we were cap-
turing guns and ammunition galore. We kept them on
the run until we got to the Marne, where they turned
around to make a fight. Just what we wanted. This
was, I think, the tenth or eleventh of September. The
battle lasted two days and we didn't half give them some-
thing. We popped them off as fast as the clock could
tick at times. At last they were forced to retire. As fast
as they retired we followed them up until night came,
and we had a good night's rest without being disturbed.
We started next morning straight into action. My
regiment got some hand to hand fighting this day in a
village. We got in close quarters with the bayonet and
we let them feel it. We captured the village and many
prisoners and also left a few hundred dead there. Then
we came to the Aisne. Here they held us in check a few
hours until word came that we must cross the bridge to-
day at all costs. We did, but not without great loss.
This was at midday on the thirteenth of September. The
remainder of that day there was heavy cannonading on
both sides, but we held our position, which had cost us
We were now in Soissons. That night my regiment
was on outpost duty and it was pouring heavens hard
with rain and we laid out in the open. We were like
drowned rats next morning when we got relieved, but
we got a nice day's rest, for we had got a good position.
We were in a long deep nullah out of sight from the
enemy and it was only about twelve feet wide. They
would have to be very accurate if they wanted to drop
The British Tommy's Story.
a shell in it. The Germans were shelling" us very heavy
all that clay and our side hardly ever fired a round, only
now and again the artillery would fire one. We won-
dered what the matter was, but we found out later we
were short of ammunition. That is why we could not
advance any further.
The enemy's shells were flying over our heads and
dropping short all that day, but they could not hit our
mark. We got so used to them we took no notice of them
at the finish. Night time came and the shelling ceased,
but as soon as daybreak came the shelling started again.
Still we took no notice, until about midday an enemy
aeroplane hovered over us for about half an hour and
then returned to his own line, and soon a shell dropped
straight into the nullah. I got it along with five others
wounded and one killed. One of the wounded was my
captain. I lay there only about ten minutes, then I was
picked up by our stretcher bearers and carried to an old
church about a quarter of a mile away. There I saw
my captain. He was laid next to me. We got our
wounds attended to and stayed there until midnight, and
all the time we were there the enemy were shelling the
church. Luckily we got away without further injury.
They dared not move us in the day time because we had
to cross the bridge again, and the enemy had the range
on it. We were moved at midnight and went away in
ambulance wagons to another dressing station, then, after
being dressed, we left there at once in motor wagons
and arrived at another dressing station, where our
wounds were dressed again and we were taken to the
railway station. W r e were placed in cattle trucks and
then we started on our journey. We traveled all night
and until noon the next day. Then they took us from the
cattle trucks and placed us on a railway platform, and
it was to my delight for I never experienced such a ride
in my life. I expected to arrive at Paris in pieces. They
gave us a good feed, then the doctor came round and
picked out the worst cases and told us we were to be
32 With the American Ambulance in France.
taken to the American Ambulance, which was about ten
miles from the station.
We were placed in ambulance cars at once. Here again
I saw my captain. He was put in the same car as my-
self, and we had a good chat together. We arrived at
the hospital about 4 p. m. I was taken to a nice clean
bed, bathed and made as comfortable as possible, and
I am sure there is not a hospital anywhere where a
wounded man could get better attended to.
THE AMERICAN AMBULANCE OF JUILLY.
What a change to be transferred from the great
bustling city of Paris to this quiet little village of Juilly !
Although but 23 miles distant from Paris, yet it took us
two hours to make the trip from the Gare du Nord to
the tiny station of St. Mard. Numerous troop trains
having the right of way delayed the passenger traffic, as
they do all over that part of France where there is mili-
tary activity. American workers at Neuilly, in France
for the first time in their lives, have difficulty in making
fellow-mortals understand their pronunciation of the
word Neuilly. The word Juilly exacts an equal number
of variations in pronunciation. Perhaps there are no
two names in French geography harder to pronounce
correctly and, curiously enough, these two places were
chosen for the two hospitals of the American Ambu-
lance. One of our doctors who had just arrived from
America took the wrong trains in Paris and found him-
self at Meaux. It was a rainy night, he was carrying a
heavy suit-case and he did not know a word of French.
He wandered around trying to find someone who could
understand his pronunciation of Juilly. After trying
without success every combination of sound that he could
think of he was about to conclude that the place did not
The American Ambulance branch hospital in the College of Jitilly.
34 With the American Ambulance in Fran
exist, when he thought of writing the name on a piece
When Mrs. H. P. Whitney, in December, 1914, offered
to equip and maintain a hospital for French wounded
soldiers, several locations were offered by the govern-
ment and the college of Juilly was finally chosen. The
institution lies between two main railways running
toward the battle line, and at that time was considered
quite near the front. If you look at a map of France you
will not in all probability find Juilly, as it is a village of
only some 400 inhabitants. The name Juilly is derived
from Julius, and it is thought that at one time Julius
Caesar had a camp there. At any rate, we know that
the Romans invaded this part of Gaul and in the College
Park is a splendid Roman wine jar which has been un-
earthed and mounted on a pedestal at the end of an ave-
nue of elm trees.
The College was founded in 1630 by the Oratorians
and was made a royal academy by Louis XIII. Some
famous men have been students here, as Villars, d'Artag-
nan, Montesquieu, Norfolk, Howard d'Arundel and
Jerome Napoleon. The great Napoleon came here once
to see his brother Jerome and the room where he slept
is pointed out to visitors, also a framed letter on the wall
in which Napoleon gives his brother good advice as to
his school behavior.
It was not a new experience for the College to re-
ceive wounded soldiers, for it was used as a hospital
both in the wars of the French revolution and in the
Franco-Prussian war. At the battle of the MarneSOO
wounded were brought here and covered the floors of
the corridors, and German prisoners were locked up in
a room which was afterwards used as our kitchen.
The buildings are a sturdy pile of three storied stone
structures with little pretense to architectural merit. Only
the northeast wing and the college theatre are used for
the wounded with accommodations for 220. The rest of the
college is intact and instruction of the youth of France
The American Ambulance of Juilly.
continues as in the times of peace. One of the charming
features of the place is the park in the rear of the build-
ings. Here are wide lawns, beautiful avenues of elm
trees and a small lake, the home of snow-white swans.
The Americans early in 1915 had a busy time of it
converting the old stone building with walls four feet or
more in thickness and devoid of all plumbing, into a
building of modern hospital requirements. Workmen
were mobilized with the army, and it was with the great-
est difficulty that men could be obtained to install the
plumbing, heating and electric lighting systems. All the
material had to be assembled in Paris and hauled out in
trucks, some of the hauls requiring two days. The spring
of St. Genevieve was tapped and water pumped to cist-
erns on the roof. Electricity was brought from a one-
horse concern at the village of St. Mard, about two miles
away. A central heating plant and sewer system were
installed and the necessary equipment of an up-to-date
The little village is a quaint affair as are most French
villages. There is the town square lined with linden trees
in front of the college and across the square is the village
church. There is of course the Mairie and l'ficole des
Garcons et l'ficole des Filles. The mayor is a well pre-
served man of sturdy stock whose only son is in the
trenches. The mayor's wife is a sweet, admirable woman
living in constant dread of hearing bad news about her
son. Yet she would not have him back in safety, as she
knows he is fighting for France and for her loved ones.
We, in America, have too little thought of the noble
French women who are on their knees every day praying
that the bitter cup may pass them by, but meeting their
sorrow with wonderful resignation if this prayer is de-
There are a few stores selling general merchandise,
the butcher shop, the pork shop (always a separate insti-
tution in France ) , little fruit, tobacco and newspaper
shops and several estaminets or wine shops. The post
7 he American Ambulance of Juilly.
office and telephone are directed by two or three intelli-
gent women. Mail is delivered from Juilly to surround-
ing hamlets and is carried by a young widow. In good
weather she rides a bicycle, but in bad weather she does
her ten miles a day on foot. Her husband was killed
in the battle of the Marne, leaving her with a young
child, alone and unprovided. "Yes," she says, "life is
hard. I am left a widow with a young child, but my
husband died for France and that means that he died de-
fending me and my son and the other women and chil-
dren of France." She never complains as she trudges
along the muddy roads in the rain, and she always has a
cheerful smile for the Americans.
There are two shoemakers, the tile-roof man and the
village carpenter and blacksmith. The last two are ex-
pert artisans and are of great service to the Ambulance.
Of inns there are none at all. The village is too small to
support one. Likewise with the gendarmes. There is
an antiquated garde champetre who fixes official notices
on the Mairie and at times goes through the streets ring-
ing a bell and reading governmental announcements.
The hospital is glad to get village help for the laundry
and kitchen but with so much work to be done in their
homes it is difficult to get women workers. However,
there are over fifty women from Juilly and surrounding
villages who work in the laundry and kitchen, and act as
ward maids and scrub women.
The staff consists of a varying number of doctors, most
of them Americans, twenty to twenty-five trained nurses,
several auxiliary nurses and some volunteer orderlies.
There is an automobile ambulance section attached to
the hospital. Most of the drivers are young men from
the United States and they drive Ford cars which are
fitted to carry three lying-down patients or couches.
For some months the wounded were received from
Compiegne, which is about seven miles from the trenches.
This made a run of about thirty miles in ambulances
which was too severe for badly wounded men, especially
33 With the American Ambulance in France.
in bad weather. Besides that, the possibility of the hos-
pital being kept full of patients depended on the activity
of that section of the line and when there were few or
no engagements there were no wounded to be had.
Later on a different arrangement was made whereby the
hospital, although geographically in the Zone des Armees,
was included in the Camp Retranche de Paris. This
system was much more advantageous, as wounded were
received from along the battle line from Verdun to the
The guns at the front can be heard every day at Juilly.
Our first great sensation in the war zone was an inde-
scribable thrill when we heard the cannon booming in
the distance towards Soissons. The sound, now louder
now fainter, when heard for the first time cannot fail
to make an impression. This voice of death blown by the
winds over the fields and ruined villages of France brings
a consciousness of the reality of war as does no other
sound. To one who has not heard it, the sensation can-
not be imparted. To one who has heard it, the memory
will never be forgotten.
LIFE IN THE AMBULANCE.
We find at once a great difference between the living
here and at Neuilly. At Neuilly, while of course the pa-
tients were French, yet it was essentially an American
hospital and English was spoken freely. Here we live
in much more intimacy with the French and a speaking
knowledge of the language is essential if one wants to
be of the greatest service. Accordingly we looked around
for a teacher and found that the housekeeper's daugh-
ter gave lessons. She was a buxom French girl of 19
with a perfect American accent.
Life in the Ambulance.
"Where did you learn to speak English so well?" we
"Oh, I went to school in America for eight months."
"In what part of America were you?"
"I was in Honolulu at the Punahou School."
Then she told us how her parents had taken her some
years before to Australia and not wanting to stay there
decided to return to France by way of America. They
had stopped off at Honolulu, where she had gone to
school and although since then she had not had much
opportunity to practise speaking English she had never
forgotten what she had learned.
Our bedroom is across the hall from one of the large
wards and was formerly one of the professor's rooms.
It is convenient to be so near the blesses, as when one is
called at night for a hemorrhage, it doesn't take long to
The daily routine is as follows. Breakfast of cafe au
lait, toast and eggs at 7 a. m. We drink our coffee out
of bowls to save crockery and eat off an oil cloth cov-
ered table to save laundry. "Rounds" at 9 a. m. After
which dressings are done. The poilus have their lunch
at eleven and the staff at noon. The dejeuner is the best
meal of the day and consists of some kind of meat or
fish, two or three vegetables, sometimes a salad and
cheese and coffee. We are in the Brie region and a ripe
Brie cheese is delicious. If there are operations to be
done, these commence at 1 :30 p. m. The operating room
is well equipped and the technique is excellent. In the
afternoon we usually take a walk and roam around the
surrounding country. There is a tennis court located
in a grove of elm trees in the park where we play occa-
sionally. It seems strange to play tennis while we can
hear cannon booming in the distance and aeroplanes oc-
casionally sail over our heads.
Supper is served at 7 p. m., and is a plain meal of
meat, vegetables and fruit. In the evenings we read or
40 With the American Ambulance in France.
indulge in a game of ping-pong in one of the long stone
Among our blesses are a number of Algerians. They
are fine looking fellows with well-shaped heads. They
seem quiet and docile, but on dit that they are demons
in a fight. They do not like the cold weather and the
trench warfare. Under their quiet demeanor is a quick
temper. One day when a band of a passing regiment
was giving a concert in the courtyard and the soldiers
were crowded around the musicians, we heard a loud
crack of something breaking and discovered that an Al-
gerian in a fit of sudden rage had broken his cane over
a French soldier's head and knocked him senseless.
There was nothing to do but carry the soldier on a
stretcher to his bed and "evacuate" the offender at once
to his depot. The Arabs do not know what to make of
having women nurses around. They call them "Mees"
or "Mama" and the stout nurses are greatly in favor.
They want to take the fat ones back to Algeria with
Two of our cars go three times a week to Compiegne
for wounded and it is a fine ride. Our route passes
through Dammartin, finely situated on a hill, where Gen-
eral French had his headquarters at one time. We then
follow along a smooth road passing through several pic-
turesque villages to the beautiful forest of Ermenon-
ville. In Dumas "Three Musketeers," he speaks of his
heroes riding from Dammartin to Ermenonville in ten
minutes. Perhaps horses went faster in those heroic
days, for it takes us fully twenty minutes in a Ford. On
strategic points everywhere are barbed wire entangle-
ments and here and there are cleverly constructed reserve
trenches. The French are taking no chances and if the
Germans ever break through they will not find it easy
going. There has been no hunting allowed since the war
started and the game is very tame. Fat pheasants and
partridges scurry across the road, occasionally we see a
hare or a herd of deer and the lake at Ermenonville is
Life in the Ambulance.
dotted with wild ducks. The ancient village of Yerberie
is passed through on the way. Here the English king
Ethelwolf was married to Judith over a thousand years
ago. Shortly afterwards, where the railway crosses the
road, sentries stop the cars and our papers are care-
fully examined before we are allowed to proceed. The
forest of Compiegne is magnificent and it is not strange
that it was a favorite resort of the French royalty. The
handsome town of Compiegne seems very peaceful con-
sidering it is seven miles or so from the trenches. Some
of the residences are closed but most of the stores are
open, people were sitting on the sidewalk cafes and car-
riages were driving through the streets. The large
chateau of Louis XV, where Napoleon met his bride
Marie Louise, is now used as a receiving hospital, and
thither we repair for our allotment of wounded.
One day a Taube dropped a bomb on the courtyard
about twenty minutes before our arrival, and a large
hole occupied the place where we usually stationed our
cars. The bomb broke most of the windows of the pal-
ace, peppered the walls and wounded a few hospital at-
tendants. The statues in the hallways of the chateau
are padded with straw and boxed up as a protection, but
if a bomb should make a square hit, it didn't seem as if
such measures would be of much avail. Usually there is
some waiting for the wounded to arrive, so we have time
to see something of the park with its splendid vistas, the
handsome Hotel de Ville and the statue of Joan of Arc.
It was here that Joan was captured. How much of the
spirit of that heroic maid is breathed in France today !
A visit to Dr. Carrel's hospital is a rare treat. The
hospital is established in a fine hotel and it is an ideal in-
stitution, although an occasional shell which drops in
the garden makes the proximity to the trenches not an
unmixed blessing. Dr. Carrel was conducting his re-
searches on the treatment of wounds which later became
knowm as the "Carrel-Dakin method," and is a notable
achievement in war surgery.
42 With the American Ambulance in Fra
The sound of the cannon is very loud at Compiegne
and other evidences of the proximity of the enemy are
the destroyed bridge over the Oise, and several residences
in the town utterly ruined by shell fire.
When the wounded come in and our quota is received
we hurry back to Juilly. We wrap the blesses well in
blankets and have hot coffee in thermos bottles for use en
route. Where the road is rough, care is taken to jolt the
wounded as little as possible. On arriving at the am-
bulance the wounded are undressed. They are nearly
always very dirty and very tired. Their uniforms are
caked with dirt and blood. They are given a hot bath if
they are able to have it. Joly, the Major Do mo of the
receiving room, is quite a character. As soon as a
wounded man is turned over to him he seats him on a
slat arrangement which lies across the tub. Then with a
bottle of liquid soap and a sponge he goes at his job with
zest. First a thorough shampoo, Joly keeping up a run-
ning fire of conversation, and if the soap runs down the
victim's face and into his eyes and mouth, Joly doesn't
mind it a bit but follows up with liberal douches of hot
water. The poilu seems to enjoy it all as much as Joly.
A soldier, badly wounded or with fracture of the leg, is
carefully bathed on a bed, and is not subject to Joly's
ministrations. All the wounded are X-rayed unless it is
very evident that the wound is merely a flesh wound.
Cases requiring immediate operation are attended to at
once. Sometimes the electric light system breaks down at
the critical moment and acetylene lamps are ready for
emergencies. The poor fellows are put to bed and given
a meal and the inevitable cigarette. They then sleep and
sleep. Many of them have not been in a bed for months.
They usually sleep all night, all the next day, waking up
only for meals, the next night and part of the next day.
Quite often they have bad dreams and nightmares and
cry out in their sleep as they dream of an attack.
The Surrounding Country.
THE SURROUNDING COUNTRY.
On the road to Paris, about a mile and a half away, is
the village of Nantouillet, which is distinguished by a fine
old chateau built by Charles de Melun, grand master of
France under Louis XI. The moat and ivy covered walls
are still well preserved and the building shows some
charming architectural features. The present master of
the Chateau is a prisoner in Germany and his efficient
wife manages the farm. Before the battle of the Marne
a squad of Uhlans rode into her courtyard and selected
the best dog out of a famous kennel of hunting dogs.
The Germans seemed to have been well informed about
France even to small details. This reminds me of the
story of the professor in the college.
For some time before the war began there had been
a German on the faculty at Juilly. It was noticed that
he spent most of his time outside of class work in walks
and bicycle rides around the country. A few days before
war was declared he disappeared. On the battlefield of
the Marne, a few weeks later, his dead body was found
clad in a German officer's uniform. In his pockets were
well-drawn maps of the surrounding country, showing
every road, hill, wood and stream of military value.
A few miles away is the pleasing chateau of St. Thi-
bault on a large estate. The charming and cultivated
family were fond of Americans and entertained us during
the summer months.
The neighboring village of Thieux is notable for its at-
tractive little church which was visited, according to the
records, by Joan of Arc on August 13, 1429.
The Seine et Marne is one of the most fertile parts of
France. The country is mostly flat, with low lying hills,
clumps of woods, meadows and fields. There is no waste
land. Toward the east are great stretches of wheat
fields. A year ago these fields were red with blood, but
44 With the American Ambulance in Fran
nature rapidly effaces the signs of war and wheat is now
waving over the fields destined to rank in history with
Chalons and Tours.
Perched on a hill and a land mark from our hospital
windows is the town of Montge. Some British troops
came through here in the retreat from Mons and blew
up two houses in order to barricade the street, but the
Germans came along on the other side of the hill. Now
there is an artillery force stationed here. On our first
visit the woods on the hill were full of soldiers digging
trenches and we saw two of the famous "seventy-fives."
They were painted over to resemble leaves, also a wire
netting was spread over them which can be covered with
branches and conceal the cannon from hostile aviators.
Along the road to Meaux is the newly-made cemetery
where 317 soldiers are buried, among them Peguy, the
young poet whom France mourns. These men were
killed the night before the 6th of September, 1914, when
Joffre gave his famous order that they should retreat
no further, and that they should die in their tracks rather
than give way. A body of troops was bivouacking in the
field and a German battery on the hill of Monthyon got
their range and landed several shell in their midst. The
graves are decorated with metallic wreaths, and among
them is one from the American Ambulance. Nearby is
a plot where Germans are buried. It is fenced off with
barbed wire and a black post with a board and number
marks the spot. How magnanimous of the French to
protect and care for the graves of the ruthless invaders
of their country !
Meaux is the nearest large town to us and is probably
the largest town nearest to Paris that the Germans
reached in 1914. A good part of the population fled on
the approach of the enemy. Only German patrols en-
tered the town. The main bodies of troops never had a
chance as they were engaged in heavy fighting on the out-
skirts by the French.
Dr. Gros of the American Ambulance tells a vivid story
46 With the American Ambulance in France.
which shows what the French soldier endured in these
glorious days of the Marne. With other Americans from
Paris, Dr. Gros went out to the battlefield to bring in the
wounded. They arrived at Meaux at midnight and found
the town in darkness. There was not a light to be seen or
a sound to be heard except the wailings of cats, wander-
ing around the streets. They called and shouted and at
last were able to arouse an official. "Where are the
wounded?" they asked. "I will show you," replied the
official. They were led with the aid of a lamp to a school
building which looked dark and deserted. Pushing open
the door they found the building crowded with wounded,
over five hundred. They were lying on the hard floor.
Some were dead, others dying, all were asleep. Nine
days of forced marching and fighting without adequate
sleep or food had produced such a state of exhaustion
that they wanted only to be left alone. The prospect of
surgical care, hospital, food and drink aroused no re-
sponse. The worst cases were selected first, such as
compound fractures and those wounded in the chest or
abdomen. They made little or no complaint when they
were picked up. Only when their wounds, stuck to the
floor, were torn open, did they utter a sound.
Further along up the beautiful Marne valley, about an
hour's ride from Meaux, lies the attractive town of Cha-
teau Thierry, of about 7,000 inhabitants. Here La Fon-
taine, the fable writer, was born. The castle that gives
the town its name is a 1200-year old ruin, picturesquely
situated on the high bank of the Marne.
German troops crossed the river here in their great
advance but were driven back again after the battle of
the Marne, blowing up the bridge as they retreated, and
British and French troops made the crossing on pon-
toons. The town suffered somewhat from shell fire and
numerous shell holes are to be seen as grim reminders
of the war. Because Chateau Thierry is located deep in
the valley the sound of the guns at the front is not heard
and there is little to make one realize that war is o-oing- on.
The Wounded front the Battle of Champagne. 47
In company with some French officers I visited the
hospitals and lunched at the officers' mess. Questions
about America and the American ambulance from a
score of officers I answered as best I could and they
were too polite to notice my mistakes in the French lan-
guage. The Medecin-Chef of the hospitals was a very
nervous man, drafted from civil life and breaking under
the strain of his office. When I said "merci" in refusing
a dish offered me, he thundered at me "Merci oui ou
merci non?" which amused everybody.
In a large enclosure in the town were a number of
freshly captured, unwounded German prisoners. The
officers were very sour and surly-looking. The privates
were youths with closely cropped heads and seemed not
at all sorry to be prisoners. They were kindly treated
by the French and received the same food as the French
THE WOUNDED FROM THE BATTLE OF
During the fall of 1915 there were rumors of a great
offensive to be made somewhere along the line. Al-
though we were within sound of the guns we knew little
of what was going on and often read in New York pa-
pers of events that was news to us, days old. Early in
September we received orders to evacuate all of our
blesses who were able to go. Then there was a great
scurry, filling out the military papers, getting out the
equipment and bidding farewell to the poilus who had
been so long with us and to whom we had grown so at-
tached. We waited expectantly every day for news of
a great battle until on September 26th the official com-
muniques announced that, preceded by a heavy bom-
bardment, the French had advanced in the Champagne
With the American Ambulance in France.
region and had taken many prisoners and trenches. We
were prepared to receive a load of wounded at any time.
September 29th we were notified by telegram that a
trainload of wounded would arrive at five o'clock the next
morning, and we were ready when the ambulances began
to arrive from the station of St. Mard in rapid succession,
each one with three wounded. One man died at the sta-
tion before he could be taken off the train. The long
corridor was filled with wounded, wrapped in blankets
lying on stretchers, and as rapidly as possible the blesses
were carried up to the wards, the worst cases first. In
less than three hours from the arrival of the first pa-
tient the last of the 128 was put to bed. Extra cars and
drivers had been sent out from Neuilly else we never
could have handled the task so rapidly.
A large man lay in the corridor, his head so swathed
in bandages that all of his face that could be seen was
a nose, a pair of large moustaches and a pair of keen
gray eyes. I picked up the head end of the stretcher
and our Belgian radiographer, Deschamps, the foot end
and we carried him up two flights of stairs. He grew
heavier and heavier until, as we reached the bed our
aching arms had some difficulty in raising the stretcher
sufficiently to make the transfer to the bed. As we were
struggling with our task we were startled to hear a voice
roar at us out of the maze of bandages and blankets,
"Brace up there ! Brace up." Our patient turned out
to be a colonel who spoke perfect English, a magnificent
specimen, 6 feet 4 and 245 pounds weight. As soon as
we learned his rank we hurried and prepared a private
room for him.
Every patient was then examined and dressed. Some
were in desperate condition and had to be operated on
at once. There were some terrible wounds, especially
the jaw cases. It does not seem possible that a man could
be alive with such wounds. One boy was shot through
the shoulder at close range, then the ball tore open his
neck and carried away a good part of the lower jaw.
50 With the American Ambulance in France.
floor of the mouth and tongue. He was a nervous little
chap and suffered greatly. He was fed by a tube intro-
duced into his nose, but did not look as if he could sur-
Another boy was shot through the face sideways, the
piece of shell tearing away a large part of the lower jaw
and half his tongue. A fringe of lower lip hung down
almost to his chest. He cannot speak, so writes notes
asking for something to drink and whether he will ever
be able to speak again. He is wonderfully brave and
patient and after having been fed a few times he took
his tube, funnel and pitcher of milk and insisted on feed-
One fine young fellow has his leg shattered and gas
gangrene has set in. It is too late to save him. His
mother arrives from Paris. He sees her entering the
door, cries out "Mama" and holds out his hands to her.
She rushes to him and folds him in her arms — her only
son. He expires before long but with a peaceful smile
on his face.
We are busy as can be, for as fast as a round of dress-
ings is completed we must start again, as they are so
quickly soiled. When we get a chance to think it over,
anger takes possession of us — rage that boys and young
men, the flower of the land, should thus be struck down
and mutilated in defending their country and dear ones
from the merciless greed of the Kaiser and his cohorts.
The stench in the ward is beyond description. One of
our old patients is helping with the dressings, and al-
though he has been wounded four times and has gone
back again to the trenches, the smell is too much for
him and he vomits repeatedly but always returns to
The saddest cases of all are the blind. Dr. Scarlett
comes out from Paris to do what he can for them, but
too often their eyesight has gone beyond hope. It is
heart-rending to witness their hope when they recover
from the anaesthetic and believe, now that they have
The Wounded from the Battle of Champagne. 51
been attended to by tbe American doctor, they will be
all right. They get some one to light a cigarette for
them, laugh and crack jokes. Later on when the con-
sciousness that they are doomed to everlasting darkness
comes to them, they are magnificent. Not a whimper,
a word of sorrow or self-pity passes their lips. They
meet their fate with the noble fortitude of the race.
The nurses are working splendidly and are at their
best now that there is plenty of work. The first night
was a terrible one, but we managed to get through it
with a liberal use of morphine. Almost every patient
is bad enough to require a special nurse in civil practice,
and for our 52 patients in a ward we have three nurses
and one auxiliary. There are no trained orderlies, but
the convalescent soldiers rapidly become apt helpers. If
war brutalizes soldiers, it certainly does not show itself
in the attitude of the French soldiers to each other, as
no one could be more solicitous and tender than are
these poilus of their fellow comrades.
And so it goes on. A few die, those who were hope-
less on their arrival. The village priest is called and
gives them the last rites. Gradually conditions improve,
the blesses suffer less and the stench in the wards di-
minishes. But just as we feel relieved that no more of
our blesses are going to die, the danger of secondary
hemorrhages arises. These come on suddenly and with-
out warning, as the infection reaches and ulcerates an
artery. One night I was called to the ward hurriedly
and by the light of a lantern was appalled to see blood
pouring out of a man's mouth. The poor fellow was
choking and blood poured all over the bed. There was
no success in trying to see where the blood came from.
A shrapnel ball had struck him in the face alongside of
the nose and traversed the neck and the blood poured out
of his mouth too fast to sponge it out and see by lan-
tern light the source of the bleeding. A finger in his
mouth felt a hole in his hard palate through which the
blood poured and the finger was used to plug the hole
52 With the American Ambulance in France.
until the blood could be cleaned out and the wound
packed. By this time the blesse was white as a sheet,
sitting up in bed covered with blood. Two tears rolled
down his cheeks as he said "Merci," kissed my hand and
settled back on his pillows.
This afternoon as I was shaving an Algerian who had
his upper jaw smashed by a bullet, I heard a splashing
sound and an old chap came staggering into the salle de
pansements with blood pouring out from a great hole
in his face. He started to bleed as he sat up in bed and,
knowing that I was in the dressing room, he came in
there after me, leaving a trail of blood behind him. Vig-
orous packing stopped the hemorrhage for the time be-
ing but later on it was necessary to tie the external
carotid artery in his neck. We call this poilu "grand-
pere," for, although he is only thirty-nine, yet he has
only a fringe of gray locks around the edge of his bald
pate. A Chinese bullet fifteen years ago carried away
a part of his nose and a piece of German shell took away
most of what was left and a large piece of his upper jaw.
When he was wounded, grandpere crawled into a shell
hole and packed his wound full of mud to stop the bleed-
ing. He is a Breton fisherman and makes long fishing
voyages to the Canadian banks. He knows two English
words, "Cod fish" and "Whisky."
After a varying length of time in the hospital the
blesses are evacuated. The slightly wounded ones go to
their depot, where they receive permission to visit their
families for a few weeks before their return to the
trenches. Those requiring further treatment are sent to
convalescent hospitals in Paris or its suburbs. The hope-
lessly crippled men go before a Board and are reformed,
that is, the war is over for them. They go home and do
what they can to make a living. Partially disabled sol-
diers are placed in the auxiliary service, where they are
assigned to work in accordance with their capacity as
drivers, railroad helpers, kitchen assistants, hospital or-
derlies or workers in ammunition factories.
Breton peasants who have come to visit their son zvho
is badly wounded.
54 With the American Ambulance in France.
Some of our wounded speak English quite well. A
bright young fellow from Soissons who had never been
a hundred miles away from home spoke English and
was glad of the opportunity to improve his knowledge of
the language. He had learned English in the college at
Soissons and the result was a striking improvement over
the success of an American boy learning French at an
American college. At our request he wrote out a story
of his experiences in the war, the first part in French and
the "most interesting part of the story" in English.
I was at my home north of Soissons when the war
broke out. I was nineteen years of age and I did not
expect at that time that I would be called to the colors.
The first of September, 1914, French troops retreating
from Charleroi had just passed through our village when
cries of terror resounded in the streets, "Les Allemands,
les Uhlands." We heard in the distance the clatter of
horses' hoofs and some minutes later the Belgian lanc-
ers, then the artillery passed at full speed. It was a false
alarm. The "Bodies" were our friends, the Belgians.
After this my mother, who did not want me to remain
in the village during the invasion, made preparations for
my departure. In the evening as we learned from the
dragoons, the last troops in retreat, that the Germans
were only 12 kilometers away, I bade my parents fare-
well and started on foot for Paris. All night lonsr I
walked. It was a terrible night for me. Behind me the
cannon thundered over our poor villages and the glare of
flaming homes, burned by the enemy, added a note of
horror to this first vision of war. I trudged all night
long with death in my soul, 43 kilometres, thinking of
my family in the hands of the enemy. I began to un-
derstand what war was. A year later I had to understand
I was ordered to report to a regiment at Paris, and
then was sent to a camp for instruction. Sickness delayed
my departure for the front so that it was not until June
that I joined my comrades in the trenches of the Aisne.
Our regiment held a secteur violently bombarded day and
night, only a few kilometres from my home town.
By the middle of August we were ordered to the
Champagne region to prepare for the approaching of-
fensive. There we dug by night new trenches and "boy-
aux." Our lines, 800 meters distant from the enemy,
were moved up to 400 and even 300 metres. During the
day we dug our old "boyaux" deeper.
On September 20th we learned the decision of the
Commander in Chief. We were going to take the offen-
sive in a few days. When our turn came for guard duty
in the first line we sewed the traditional square of white
cloth on our knapsacks, which would denote our presence
to our artillery and prevent our being shot by our own
The twenty-second of September at five o'clock in the
morning we took our place in the first line. Two sec-
tions of my company were on guard and the two others
were at rest in the dug-outs. As for myself I fell asleep
at once in a dug-out as I was very tired. Suddenly about
seven o'clock an infernal noise awoke me all of a sudden.
The "seventy-fives" near us fired all at once and in about
an hour all of our '"seventy-fives" were engaged. The
Bodies replied. The "seventy-sevens," "one hundred and
fives" and "one hundred and fifties" were rained on our
batteries but without effect.
A sergeant entered our dug-out all excited, "Here is
the order," he said. "The offensive has started, the bom-
bardment will last three or four days. The seventy-fives
will fire today, tomorrow the heavy cannon and on the
last day all the artillery will fire at the same time. At
56 With the American Ambulance in France.
the attack you will be the first to go." His words are
received without a murmur. We then crack jokes as the
Boche shells continue to fall above us causing some
caving in of the ceilings of our dug-outs. At last towards
midday the Boche quit firing. As for us, our bombard-
ment became more and more intense.
The third day of the bombardment must have been a
terrible one for the enemy. Shells of all sizes threw up
into the air for hundreds of feet pieces of rocks, trees
and material of various kinds. The explosions of our
"75" and "155" and of our aerial torpedoes on the
enemy's first lines confused our brains and upset our
The twenty-fourth of September we learned that on
the next day at .nine fifteen exactly our company would
be the first to attack and take the first line of the enemy's
trenches. The news hardly surprised us as we expected
it. Some of us were chosen as "trench cleaners" or
"zigouilleurs" and received a strong knife and a Brown-
ing revolver. The "trench cleaner's" duty is during an
attack to kill all the enemy hidden in the dug-outs who
would be able to shoot us in the back.
During the night we prepared our sacks, containing
three days of reserve rations and saw to our square of
white cloth which would guide our artillery.
Here I speak English for the most interesting part of
Twenty-fifth of September. — It is eight o'clock in the
morning. We are ready. With our sack we have also
two musettes ; one for grenades and cartridges, and the
other for chocolate and bread. To our belts are hung a
set of small tools and a "pochette", holding the masque
and pad designed to ward off the asphyxiating gases.
Last, we each have two "bidons" of a capacity of one
For myself I also carry a board two meters long which
I am to lay across the foremost enemy trench to allow
the passage of my comrades. In the right hand, my rifle.
It rains, and this depresses us a little ; but we are ac-
customed by former duties to all the caprices of the
weather and rain is not going to hinder our deter-
Our lieutenant calls the section together. He tells us
that we shall be the first to move ; we are to be the regi-
ment's first wave of assault. We are told to leap over
the parapet at fifteen minutes past nine and to then
march straight before us in the direction of Sommepy-
Youziers, in short, towards the north. "I know," says
our lieutenant, "that there is not one of you who will
show any sign of weakness." Our glance suffices to
convince him that, every one, we are proud to attack first,
and that, among us, none shall recoil. "Tomorrow morn-
ing," continues our lieutenant, "we shall have forced the
lines of the enemy. We shall be at Sommepy. It will
be Sunday and we shall attend high mass which will be
celebrated by soldier priests in the ruins of the church."
Saluting, we return to our arms.
The rain falls, drizzling yet heavy. The bombardment
becomes more and more violent, the bursting of our ter-
rible 75s falling from far before us, often into our own
trenches, bringing danger to us from our own com-
rades. We feel a great enthusiasm course through us
more and more ; among us there is not one who glances
back with regret upon other days in this hour of death.
Each gazes, on the contrary, frankly towards that future
which looms up as red as the blood which is soon going
to dye that "plateau." Everyone thinks "our life would
have been worth something for would we not have aided
in saving our France from danger?" We smoke a pipe ; we
speak of the terrible moments that we are about to live
and which we foresee as less terrible than the reality.
At last ! nine o'clock has come. The section files into
the "parallele," a trench with steps dug during the night
before our first line to aid the movements of the appointed
"Du courage, mes enfants," cries our lieutenant; "re-
With the American Ambulance in France.
gret nothing; think of that future which is dawning so
beautifully for France, that future which will be your
glory and your recompense. Not one of you will retreat.
The moment has come for us to drive the invader from
our land and to restore those innumerable ruined places
which you will see on your way. Remember that you are
soldiers of the glorious Thirty-fifth Infantry Regiment of
The lieutenant lights his pipe ; we put bayonet to rifle,
musette to back and adjust our helmets.
Five minutes past nine * * * the artillery is increasing
its range. The attack is going to begin. How very long
seem these moments.
Ten minutes past nine * * * Ready, mes enfants, to the
escaliers ! W e embrace ; fathers gaze for a last moment
upon photographs of wives and children, confide to them
their last thoughts as they press kisses upon them. * * *
Unforgetable minutes, of which still the memory horrifies
yet fascinates me. Once more I see a fine, heavy-bearded
comrade of the "Bresse" embracing his sergeant as
bearded as himself while he mutters, "Au revoir, et non
adieu." This scene is chiselled into my memory.
Fifteen miutes past nine ! Our lieutenant climbs the
parapet of the trench and, raising his sword: "En avant
mes enfants, and good luck!"
From this moment, cruel minutes passed through my
mind for not having full consciousness of the reality, I
lived as in a dream, asking myself always if in this hour
men were surely about to spill each other's blood. Here
is best what I remember :
My comrades and I marched rapidly toward the Boche
trenches, head lowered and throwing the body forward
at each whistling of an obus. Now and again I raised
my head, glanced around me quickly and then shrugged
down into my shoulders.
Strangely, I had no fear, yet I knew that soon the
figure of Death would be stalking among us. Always it
rained, and this rain formed a mist through which the
aeroplanes were indistinguishable. "That's going- to make
it bad for the artillery," thought I. On each side I saw
our lines advancing, staggering, winding, tottering and
again advancing. So, we stumbled forward for a hun-
dred meters amongst a clattering riot of bursting obus
of every caliber. Yet none near me had been wounded.
Helas ! How trivial was this vision to that which we
were to later see.
Suddenly (I found myself among the first), I heard
cries, "Forward, faster, run." Faster we ran, so that it
was necessary to wait for one or two. The line must be
straight to penetrate the first Boche trench.
Then indeed broke a hailstorm of iron. I saw my com-
rades coming up to me with heads lowered, I heard the
spiteful tac-tac of the German machine guns (mitrail-
leuses ) and, at the end of a few seconds, I remarked that
we had before us at least ten mitrailleuses. I ran back
quickly, my lieutenant was down, mortally stricken,
among many other soldiers. Close to me another threw
out his arms, wheeled around and fell. From all about
me came cries. I was conscious of the reality. Before
my eyes was unfolding one of the most terrible scenes
of modern warfare.
All this last occurred in the space of two or three min-
utes. Thicker now the bullets rained around us. Com-
rades sank down beside me uttering always guttural
The obus were beginning to burst above our heads.
Always I advanced. A great hatred of the Bodies surged
through me and a fire of blind rage flashed into my being.
Our first wave was fast becoming less dense. Many
already would never answer again to the call, but I saw
others coming up behind us and that gave me renewed
I was losing breath ; the board which I was holding in
the left hand prevented me from firing. I slackened my
pace. Two comrades rejoined me ; one had already
fought a long campaign, the other, like myself, was in
60 With the American Ambulance in France.
the first attack, and showed signs of fear, I thought. The
first ran doggedly forward, superb, thinking of nothing.
I had never seen the Bodies in their first line of trenches ;
he had seen many. Coming up to me, he cried, "Have
no fear, 'Mon petit gars,' and follow me ; 'ca ira' !"
The second arrived and closed up with him ; I did the
same. There was no more sound of the mitrailleuses,
so that I cried : "All goes well !" At that same moment,
I felt a violent blow in the head, I wheeled and stag-
gered, * * * I was blind ; a feeling of whirling fire spun
through my brain * * * I was blind !
I thought myself lost and let my rifle fall. Then whis-
pering a last adieu to my poor mother, already widowed
by the war ; a faint prayer to the Virgin, I fell.
How long did I lie there knowing nothing? I can-
not tell. But the struggle must have raged tremendously
around me. When at last I came to myself, I found my-
self mixed in a pile of other wounded lying at the bot-
tom of a deep hole that had been made by a bursting
I could see nothing, absolutely nothing, and I was
bleeding profusely from the nose, mouth and forehead.
There was hardly any pain. Continually, the obus burst
around us. The German mitrailleuses never ceased their
infernal chattering ; ours remained mute ; our mitrailleurs
being nearly all killed or wounded.
About the hole to which I had been carried, the Cor-
poral Brossire had rallied a few men to preserve us, if
possible, from massacre at the hands of the enemy, in
case they reached us. I remember that he placed upon
me the dead body of a corporal as a protection from pro-
Many times the Bodies tried to reach us, but they
were always repulsed, grace to the courage of this Cor-
poral Brossire who could always, in a tragic moment,
find those words which put added courage into the hearts
of his men. Wounded in the skull, he continued to com-
mand and to scorch with a glance those who spoke of
retreat or surrender. "We will die here if we must,"
said he, "but never will I give up these wounded com-
The situation becomes more and more critical. After
two hours of incessant and unequal fighting, the corporal
and his men resign themselves to that beckoning figure of
Death which has for so long been reaching toward us.
Thev fire no more : their arms, grimed with mud, refuse
to answer to the trigger. The Bodies, in their turn ad-
vance in quick rushes ; now, they have only thirty meters
between themselves and us. "Don't stir," cries Brossire ;
"act as if dead, every one of you ; they will pass * * *
attention, here they are."
We wait, two, three, four seconds during which I can
hear the pounding of my heart. What is happening ? Sud-
denly one of our mitrailleuses makes itself heard behind
us. It is at its maximum of speed and the bullets whistle
above us, rushing to sow death among that advancing
A cry from the corporal, "Saved, mes enfants, it is
Meyer; he is working for us." The brave Meyer, a ser-
geant mitrailleur, alone by his piece has in a few mo-
ments turned our terrible enemy.
Toward three o'clock I was found by a soldier who
was carrying to the rear his wounded adjutant and who
had found me in his path. Seeing me thus blind, he had
offered to lead me to the rear before starting again for
Once in our trenches, I was confided, with other
wounded, to a party of Boche prisoners, who, under
careful guard, carried us upon their back through the
"boyaux" up to the first "Poste de Secours." Among
these was a Bavarian who spoke French as well as I
and who had not the grace to admit a defeat which now
showed itself so certain, and who even dared to criticise
our mode of attack, stating that we should be forever
hated and despised by neutral nations when they would
learn how terrible had been our bombardment.
62 With the American Ambulance in France.
I reached the ambulance very tired, twice I had fainted
on the way and felt capable of nothing more. The mor-
row, I was in Chalons, where I was operated in the
right eye, and later sent to the Ambulance at Juilly,
where, at the hands of gentle American women, I re-
ceived the tenderest care. On the 14th of October I
was operated on and after a long treatment with many
irrigations, I feel well now.
Here I end my story, in the course of which I have
wished to forget no detail nor to imagine anything.
It will be a day of dullness for me when I will leave
you and those ancient walls of Juilly, inside of which
during my unhappiness, I found such beautiful days.
THE TRIALS OF A M£DECIX-CHEF.
The change from being a staff surgeon to Medecin-
Chef had its advantages and drawbacks. Along with the
authority suddenly imposed on one and the opportunity
of running things as one thought best, this position
brought with it responsibilities and the unenviable posi-
tion of having everything disagreeable that arose put "up
to the Medecin-Chef." The greatest drawback to the
position is that one is deprived of the intimate contact
with the poilus.
In the system of hospital management one man. the
Medecin-Chef, is given full authority and made respon-
sible for each and every department. This system has its
advantage as the hospital is conducted by a medical mar
and the friction that often arises in civil hospitals be-
tween the medical staff and the office, is eliminated. At
the same time a heavy task is imposed on the Medecin-
Chef. He is responsible to the government for the wel-
fare of the wounded entrusted to his care, must super-
The Trials of a Medecin-Chef.
intend the treatment and see that the military papers are
properly filled out. Then there are the countless de-
tails of the surgical department, viz., the keeping up of
supplies and equipment, the discipline of the hospital, the
engaging of nurses, etc.
The housekeeping department comprises the super-
vision of the kitchen, store room, laundry, and the work
of the house cleaners. Some of our food we buy in Paris
and bring out in a camion. The meat and bread are
delivered from the town of Dammartin, milk is pur-
chased from a country dairyman, and butter, eggs, fresh
vegetables and cheese we buy in the Saturday market at
Meaux. Complications are constantly arising. The
camion breaks down just as it is needed to haul supplies.
The milk delivered is found to be sour and cannot be
used. The turkeys were delivered at the hospital un-
plucked and the kitchen staff are sore because they have
to pluck them. The poilus complain that the meat was
not properly cooked and upon interviewing the cook he
blames the coal, which at $20 a ton contains a goodly
amount of dirt and rock. Some of the nurses refuse to
eat rabbit and kid after they discover what they are.
Two of the cook's assistants have a fight and the row
has to be straightened out. Then the pump breaks down
unexpectedly and for two days all the water has to be
carried upstairs in buckets. A fire breaks out in the
laundry, burns up a lot of the wash and a laundress has
a hysterical fit.
Splints and fracture boards are needed and the village
carpenter and blacksmith must have the appliances ex-
plained to them. A stove in the theatre smokes and it
is found that the smoke stack has two elbows and doesn't
draw properly. Xo stove piping is to be had ready made
and it will take two weeks to have it made in Paris.
Milk is being spilled on the stairways as it is being car-
ried to the wards. By close watch two culprits are
caught and sufficiently admonished. Telephone com-
munication is suddenly cut off without any explanation
64 With the American Ambulance in France.
and remains cut off in spite of a telegram of protest.
We have gotten so used to having our electric lights go
out that we are prepared for it and have a plentiful
supply of candles and lanterns.
After such a day with perhaps half a dozen operations,
the Medecin-Chef's labors are not over. There are the
bills and vouchers to look over, as the Medecin-Chef
has to approve of the expenditure of every franc.
The wounded nearly always arrive at night, usually
several hours later than the time announced. At first
we used to wait up for them but found it was a better
plan to rest and be called by the night orderlies when
the first ambulance arrived. The Medecin-Chef then had
to superintend the job, see that the blesses are properly
handled, undressed and bathed, look over their injuries,
assign them to the different wards and decide whether
immediate operations are necessary.
A trip to Paris was often a mad rush to get things
attended to. A day in Paris might pass like this : An
effort to arrange that some of our heavier supplies would
go out by train encountered at once "red-tape" and un-
certainty of train service. Two hours were spent trying
to get a dozen beds. After going a long way to a whole-
sale place and choosing the bed we wanted, found that
it was only a sample. They said they couldn't make any
more because their workers were mobilized and it is diffi-
cult to get iron. The Germans hold most of the iron
mines. Then went miles across Paris suburbs to order
some iron tables and by chance landed on a bed manu-
factory. It was a disreputable looking place but the
proprietor agreed to make beds at thirty francs each.
Then to the instrument maker to get the surgical knives
which had been left there to be sharpened and found
that they had been sent by mistake to Ris-Orangis. No
screws for Lane plates to be had but they could be made
by hand for a franc apiece and it would take a week to
make six. The proprietor explained that they had been
in the habit of getting such things from Germany. This
The Trials of a Mcdccin-Chcf.
is a sample of how difficult it is to get things. I have to
hurry to a meeting of the Juilly Committee at the Ameri-
can Ambulance at Neuilly. Mr. Robert Bacon is there
and a talk with him inspires me to greater effort.
Arriving back at Juilly after dark my troubles were not
over for the day. Some convalescents were to be evacu-
ated and three of them were intoxicated. We had re-
markably little trouble with the soldiers drinking. Con-
sidering the hardships and sufferings they had been
through, an occasional lapse would not have been strange,
and the absence of drinking showed the fine discipline in
the French army.
This offense of being intoxicated had then to be thor-
oughly investigated. The next morning the three de-
linquents, looking very sheepish, are called into my office
and admonished. They all confess their fault, were sorry
and were pardoned. It appeared that they got the liquor
in a little village a mile away. We went to the village
and accused the woman in charge of the wineshop of
selling liquor to the soldiers. She denied it but when con-
fronted with one of the soldiers then tried to put it off
on her fifteen-year-old daughter. The mayor was then
hunted up but as he was absent, we called on the acting
mayor. He was a little peasant disturbed at his noon-
da}' meal of a savory ragout and salad. In reply to our
complaint, he agreed that it was a grave offense and
would act as we wanted. What did we want him to do?
Close the "bistro" for eight days. All right, he would
do so if we would write out a complaint and an order
of closure. So back to the hospital we went and wrote
out the two papers, and then back to the mayor's. "All
right, I will attend to it tomorrow as today is Sunday
and perhaps there will be customers there." "So much
the better," he was told, "and it must be attended to at
once." But then he wasn't dressed. No matter, we would
be glad to wait and drive him over in our auto. So at
last it was attended to. The mayor dressed, went along
with us, gave the orders forbidding any sales for eight
66 With the American Ambulance in France.
days. The incident is closed but had a salutary effect on
France has ever been famous for her good cooking
and the stress of war has not broken down this admirable
characteristic. To a Frenchman meal time is an institu-
tion to be enjoyed with a zest and a touch of the artistic.
The soldiers are well fed and, except in time of heavy
action, have plenty of well-cooked food. Some of the
4000 hospitals used for wounded soldiers at times have
difficulty in providing certain food for the wounded.
Chickens and butter are sometimes difficult to obtain or
are beyond the reach of the hospital's finances, but bread,
eggs, milk, vegetables and meat, in moderate quantities,
are usually available.
The prices of food, transposed from kilograms and
francs into pounds and cents, that we paid in 1915-16
Beef and mutton, 28 cents a pound.
Chickens, about $1.35 each.
Rabbits, 75 cents apiece.
Bread, from 3 to 4 cents a pound.
Butter, 35 cents a pound.
Eggs, 35 cents a dozen.
Potatoes, 2 cents a pound.
Beet sugar, 10 cents a pound.
Later the price went to 24 cents and sugar was difficult
to obtain in large quantities.
Coffee, 38 cents a pound.
Milk, 5 cents a quart.
Rice, 8 cents a pound.
The total daily cost of feeding each individual in the
hospital, patients and staff, was 56 cents a day.
Holidays and Festivals.
HOLIDAYS AND FESTIVALS.
On Thanksgiving- Day we were as American as could
be and the staff celebrated the clay by having roast turkey
stuffed with chestnuts and a huge pumpkin pie. As
Thanksgiving day did not mean anything to the poilus
we concentrated our efforts in preparing Christmas and
New Year's entertainments for them.
The French winter is nothing to be proud of. The first
week in December it was so cold that some of the sol-
diers in the trenches had their feet frozen. By the middle
of December it was too warm for an overcoat. By Christ-
mas time it was freezing again. There was little snow,
but it rained nearly every day. It grew dark at 3 :30 in
the afternoon and our lighting bills increased consider-
ably. Things are rather quiet in the bad weather, and
apparently the two lines of trenches settled down for the
winter, each one with the feeling that the other is un-
able to break through their line.
The Christmas celebration was a great success. The
wards were decorated with strings of colored paper run-
ning from the walls to the electric lights, the walls were
decorated with wreaths of ivy and bunches of holly and
mistletoe were hung in the windows. The wooden
frameworks for suspending broken limbs were festooned
with ivy. Altogether the effect was very pretty.
On Christmas eve the boys from the college sang for
the blesses. Some of them had very sweet voices. They
had a small but heavy organ which they carried from one
ward to another and one of the professors played the ac-
companiments, making a goodly number of discords.
Nevertheless, the soldiers enjoyed the music hugely.
On Christmas morning there was much handshaking
and exchange of "Bonne Noel." In every ward there
was a tree decorated with imitation snow, tinsel and
candles. Every soldier received a bag containing simple
68 With the American Ambulance in France.
gifts as writing pads, socks, pipes, candy, etc. A huge
Ambulance driver made a realistic Santa Claus and
amused the blesses as he distributed the presents.
Our wounded colonel made a gracious speech, which
one of the staff took down in shorthand. Of course it
suffers from being translated, but is worth recording.
"Ladies and Gentlemen of the American Ambulance of
"In the name of my wounded comrades and in my
own name, I beg to thank you for your delicate thought in
giving to us the illusion of our absent family by this
Christmas celebration. I desire also to express to you
our appreciation of the devotion and science of the doc-
tors and the professional skill and devoted care of the
nurses who have carried to the bedside of the wounded the
charm of their grace and their smiles. Thus have you
lightened our sufferings and saved most of us, myself
among them. I certainly represent all the wounded when
I say that we shall never forget the devoted care which
you have given us. I ask you to applaud 'tin triple ban'
in honor of the Ambulance." (Here the assembly fol-
lowed the Colonel's suggestion and clapped hands in the
French fashion. )
"Christmas recalls to us very sweet memories. As
children we placed our slippers in the chimney place and
prayed to the Christ child or to St. Nicholas to bring
us the toys that we wanted. The next morning, with our
happy parents, we had the joy of finding the gifts that we
longed for. Later on in life, we have enjoyed the cus-
tomary midnight gaiety, and Christmas has always been
the fete day for the children and family.
"We are very appreciative that the staff of the ambu-
lance has created such a family atmosphere for our
"As these days go by we must remember that our task
is not yet achieved and that we should by our patience
and will hasten our recovery so that those of us who can.
and that will be most of us, shall engage again in the
Holidays and Festivals.
unfinished combat. On this question, you must believe,
no matter what you hear, that victory is certain and that
in the months to come we shall drive back the Bodies.
W e shall impose the terms of peace, a victorious peace
and prevent them from again committing their crimes.
You can be certain of the future that nous les aurons."
The dinner was extra good with turkey and cranberry
sauce in plenty. There was music by local talent and by
some professionals who came out from Paris. A cinema
rented for the occasion gave some excellent moving pic-
tures and there were games for the convalescents, as
bean bags and ninepins. Fortunately there were no very
sick patients, so all could enjoy themselves.
On Christmas morning I was called into my old ward
and presented with a handsome smoking set. At the
same time one of the blesses read in a loud voice the
following speech. "Je viens an nom de mes camarades
remercier Madame et Monsieur le Docteur Judd et ses
distingues collaborateurs des soins devoues dont vous
nous entourez. Mr. le docteur vous avez quitte vos
blesses avec regret. Vous, qui les soignez avec la sollici-
tude d'une mere: vous, qui veniez pendant certains units
apporter votre science a plusieurs d'entre nous, vous
etiez un pere pour tons. Eleve au grade de medecin-chef,
1'inquietude de ne plus recevoir vos soins nous attriste.
Heureusement votre successeur se montre d'un devoue-
ment a toute epreuve et tons nous remercions et nous
nous ecrions ensemble.
"Vive la France !
At the same time they presented L. with a beautiful
bouquet of roses.
Xew Year's day is highly esteemed by the soldiers, and
we had the same sort of a celebration without the trees.
The presence of 600 soldiers just back from the trenches
made quite a little excitement in the village.
On Toussaints day the soldiers' graves in the little vil-
lage cemetery were decorated. We made up a procession,
Holidays and Festivals.
doctors, nurses, ambulance drivers and convalescents and
marched to the cemetery, the nurses carrying- wreaths.
The French show a marked reverence for the dead. The
soldiers' graves are close together, but each one is marked
with a little white cross giving the soldier's name and
military station. The Algerians' graves have a foot board
with a star and crescent on it and the graves are placed
obliquely heading towards Mecca. Graves are scattered
thickly over parts of France and no one has been al-
lowed to remove the bodies of their relatives. That must
wait until after the war.
At Commencement time there were exercises in the
College. A play was cleverly carried off. The French
are born actors. Monseigneur Marabeau, the bishop of
Meaux, graced the occasion with his presence. He is a
successor to the famous Bossuet and is a striking per-
sonality. Tall and of commanding presence he is every
inch a leader. He made the rounds of the hospital and
shook hands with every poilu, inquiring of their home
town and gave each one a "jolly." He must have trav-
eled extensively in France, because he seemed to have a
bon mot for everyone, making jokes about their districts
and causing many a laugh.
The French priests have certainly shown up well in
the war. We hear that there are 8,000 in the arm)-.
There is a heavy burden on those who are not in the
trenches, as the labor of caring for the sick and poor
has greatly increased. The soldiers as a rule are de-
vout Catholics and most of them go to mass when they
are able. The war has brought about a spiritual awak-
ening in France. Widows and mothers who have lost
their husbands and sons turn to the church for comfort
and strong men facing death look to the church for
spiritual strength to meet the great test. The director
of the college is a militant churchman, and is with the
army at Salonica, where he has been wounded and pro-
moted for bravery.
July 14th, the French great national holiday, was one
72 With the American Ambulance in France.
of the most inspiring days we have lived through. We
learned that there was going to be a parade of the Allies'
troops, so we came in to Paris to see it. Our view point
was the roof of the Hotel Crillon, looking down on the
Place de la Concorde. The square was black with peo-
ple, leaving only an open space for the troops to march
through. Down along the Champs Elysees they came,
over the spot where the guillotine stood, through the
Place, past the obelisk and up the rue Royale. All the
Allies were represented. There were of course the poilus
with their steel helmets and blue uniforms, foot soldiers,
bicycle corps, cavalry and Algerian troops and an artil-
lery detachment with the famous soixante-quinze. En-
glish, Scotch, Irish, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand
and Indian troops represented Great Britain. A Belgian
company was there and Russians, the biggest men of all.
Italian soldiers with their waving feather plumes made a
natty appearance. Even Servia was represented by a few
troops and the Annamites from Franco-China.
The crowd went wild and cheered themselves hoarse
and the sight was inspiring to everyone. There was not
an American onlooker who did not have the feeling in his
heart that our boys in khaki should be there marching
along with the French and British and the others, and
that perhaps they would be by the next anniversary of the
fall of the Bastille.
Sen I is.
One of the many acts of barbarism committed by the
Germans which have arrayed most of the civilized world
against them has been the destruction of unprotected
and helpless towns and the shooting of civilians. In Bel-
gium and in Northern France there has always been the
same old excuse that the civilians had fired on their
troops. This has been proved over and over again to be
false. In other cases shots were fired but they were fired
by accidental or intended discharge of German rifles or
Belgian and French soldiers on the village outskirts had
fired on the enemy. Even if in some isolated instances
civilians had fired on the Germans (which is not admitted
and has not been authenticated) there is absolutely no
justification for the wholesale burning of houses and mur-
der of innocent men, women and children.
Senlis suffered such a fate and the story of her suf-
ferings may be cited as a typical example of the Ger-
man policy of "frightfulness." What senseless barbar-
ism to thus try and intimidate the French ! No people
has greater love of country and home than the French,
and Germany's barbarism and inhumanity, far from ter-
rorising the French, made them all the more determined
in the defense of their homes and country.
Those who know this part of France will remember
Senlis as one of the most charming towns of this region.
Situated near the forest of Chantilly, the wooded coun-
try furnishes excellent stag hunting and the chief hostelry
of the town is named "L'hotel du Grand Cerf." The in-
teresting little arena, walls and towers are among the
best relics of Roman rule in Northern France, while
the old chateau of Henri IV and the splendid cathedral
furnish a wealth of sightseeing to a visitor.
Nowadays the visitor sees first the railway station
burned : only a shell of wall stands, over which waves
Sen I is.
the tricolor. Nearly all the houses lining- the rue de la
Republique have been burned, also the St. Martin quar-
Some of the walls standing give evidence of former
splendor as is the case of the Palais de Justice and some
of the large private residences. Those that suffered most
were the humbler dwellings of the bourgeois. Even the
hospital was not spared. We saw the wall riddled with
bullet holes of the machine guns. The bullets had not
touched the crucifix on the wall but had surrounded it
in a remarkable manner. We heard from the sweet-
faced sister how they were caring not only for French
wounded but for German soldiers when the hospital was
fired on. In the unmolested quarter is a small house on
the door of which is written in chalk, "Gute Leute-Bitte
Schoenen." The inmates have disappeared long since.
Had this anything to do with Germany's very complete
spy system? The writing is still there and serves the
purpose of a warning and reminder.
On September 1, 1914, the sound of cannon was
heard in the near distance, but the inhabitants had no
idea of their impending fate. A number of people had
already departed, but the Mayor and city officials re-
mained at their post. On September 2nd the sound
became louder and a large part of the population fled,
some on foot, some on bicycles, others in wagons. The
stores began to close and excitement increased. Soon
some French troops appeared, fighting- in retreat, and
crossed the city in the direction of Paris. The inhab-
itants quickly became aware of the proximity of the Ger-
mans when shells began to fall, killing a few people. At
four o'clock the German troops of Yon Kluck's army
appeared, marching through the streets in two columns.
At the Mairie they demanded the "bourgomaester" and
the Mayor, Eugene Odent, presented himself, and he was
at once marched off to the Hotel du Grand Cerf, where
the Germans established their headquarters. The French
troops who had passed through Senlis in retreat had
76 With the American Ambulance in France.
posted themselves on the outskirts towards Chantilly and
fired on the advance guards of the Germans. The mayor
was then faced with the accusation that the inhabitants
had fired on the Germans and this he denied vehemently,
as they had no arms and had been instructed to offer no
resistance. Then followed the inhuman crimes of the
Germans as a punishment for the legitimate attack of
the French rear guard. The Mayor and six citizens
seized at hazard in the streets, were taken to the suburb
of Chamant and, without any trial or opportunity to say
farewell to their families, were shot forthwith. Here are
the names of the victims :
Eugene Odent, mayor, 59 years of age ;
Arthur Rigualt, stone cutter, 61 years of age ;
Romand Aubert, tanner, 52 years of age ;
Jean Pommier, laborer, 67 years of age;
Jean Barbier, driver, 66 years of age;
Arthur Cottrau, dish washer, 17 years of age;
Pierre Dewert, chauffeur, 45 years of age.
Several citizens, including Madame Painchaux and her
five year old child, were seized and forced to march be-
fore the German soldiers down the rue de la Republique,
where most of them were shot down by French bullets
before the French soldiers on the edge of the forest
The rage of the Germans upon meeting any opposition
knew no bounds, and a good part of Senlis was set in
flames. To burn a defenseless town they were well pre-
pared with incendiary apparatus, bombs and grenades.
A hundred and four houses were burned and it was with
the greatest difficulty that the Archbishop Dourlent re-
ceived the concession that the entire town would not be
"They have fired on us and officers and soldiers have
been killed. See, this is the first chastisement, this street
that is burning. Tonight Senlis will undergo the same
fate and tomorrow not a house will be left standing."
The archbishop overwhelmed at these words replied,
With the American Ambulance in France.
"It cannot be possible that you would commit this crime.
They have not fired on you. It is the French army that
has been firing on your troops."
"Soldiers against soldiers," replied the officer, "e'est la
guerre, but civilians and priests fired on us at Louvain
in the street and from the church tower. Here the same
thing has happened."
The priest replied vehemently, "I do not know what
happened at Louvain, but no one has fired from the ca-
thedral tower here. I alone have the key to the tower
since the beginning of hostilities, and I have given it to
no one. This morning I climbed up into the tower to see
where the fighting was going on so as to be able to direct
those of my parishioners who wished to flee. You don't
suppose that I am able to carry a machine gun into the
tower ? I am telling you the truth and will take my oath
The murdering of the Mayor and six inoffensive cit-
izens, the use of men, women and children as a shield for
their troops against French bullets, the destruction of a
large part of the town by fire did not satisfy the furor
Teutonica. Pillage remained for the brute appetite.
Houses were broken open, cellars ransacked and they
satiated their thirst in drunken orgies. Xo one was
safe from these frenzied Huns. The story of Simon the
tobacconist is typical of what happened. On the second
of September, towards the middle of the afternoon, a
dozen soldiers entered his shop. "A boire," they com-
manded in their drunken rage. Simon hurried to serve
them and, while some of them drank, others helped them-
selves to tobacco and the small stock of groceries. "A
boire, encore et toujours." There was no more wine
drawn, so Simon sent his father-in-law and assistant to
the cellar for more. "More wine and quickly," and as
the service seemed too slow they seized the three men
violently crying, "You fired at us." Simon protested
that he had not fired and besides that he had never had
a weapon in his house. He had no chance to protest
The Battlefield of the Marne.
further as he was placed against the wall and shot. The
assistant escaped, the father-in-law was one of those
placed in front of the German troops as a protection and
was mortally wounded. Poor Simon's shop stands there
today, that is the ruins of it, marked by the legend on
a board "Debit Simon."
And so on, other stories could be told of the killing of
The ruins of Senlis, the graves of innocent victims and
the memories of those frightful clays remain as in many
a town of Belgium and Northern France an irrefuta-
ble record of German criminal wantonness.
THE BATTLEFIELD OF THE MARNE.
The battle of the Marne was stupendous. Visitors who
see a part of the battle field by way of Meaux gain but a
small idea of its extent but a good idea of its intensity.
It was in the region of Meaux that a critical phase of the
battle developed when General Manoury's Sixth Army
held and began to turn the flank of Yon Kluck's First
The line of battle extended from Nanteuil almost to
Verdun, a distance of about 120 miles. The battle lasted
from the 5th to the 12th of September, 1914. The dis-
tance from the northern to the southern edge of the bat-
tlefield may be said to be roughly 50 miles, so that the
battle field area may be estimated to cover an area of
6,000 square miles. The battlefield is historic ground.
Fourteen centuries ago the invading Huns had been
driven back on the field of Chalons. On the day that the
French first declared a republic, in 1792, the invaders
had been repulsed at Valmy. Napoleon executed some
of his brilliant exploits on these same fields.
The Battlefield of the Maine.
As regards the number of troops engaging in the bat-
tle an official announcement has not as yet been given.
The army corps and divisions engaged are known but the
impossibility of knowing what casualties had occurred
since the beginning of the war, only makes an estimate
possible. On the Allies side it is probable that 700,000
men were under General Joffre's orders. It is generally
believed, except by the German public, that the Ger-
mans were in superior numbers, probably over a million.
Compared with Napoleon's time, at the battle of Water-
loo there were 60,000 French and 70,000 allies engaged.
In modern times at the battle of Mukden there were
270,000 Russian troops and 280,000 Japanese, while in
the greatest battle of our Civil War there were about
150,000 troops on both sides.
The first shot of the battle apparently was fired from
a German battery at Monthyon at noon on September
5th. Paris lies but twenty-two miles away, and on a
clear day the Eiffel tower may be seen from the Month-
yon hill top.
The town of Meaux narrowly escaped as the battle
reached to its very gates. The bridges connecting the
thirteenth century mills with the river banks were blown
up to delay the German advance, but the town itself was
only slightly damaged by shell fire.
Spread out to the north and east of Meaux lies a rich,
agricultural plain on each side of the Marne valley. The
villages scattered over this plain show signs of heavy
fighting. Houses have been demolished by shell fire and
walls are pock marked by bullets. Barcy, Chambry,
Chauconin, Etrepilly, Marcilly and Etavigny are all
At Chambry the Germans had transformed the ceme-
tery into a fortress by piercing the walls with loop-holes
for their machine guns. From this stronghold they were
brilliantly driven out by the Zouaves. The numerous
bullet marks showing on the walls, monuments and tombs
82 With the American Ambulance in France.
of the cemetery give some idea of how fierce the fight-
ing must have been.
Scattered over the fields are hundreds and thousands of
graves, each one marked with a little white cross, many
with a small French flag and some with the dead soldier's
red cap pathetically resting on top of the cross.
The places where the French threw themselves against
the invaders in bayonet charges are easy to find as here
the graves are thick. Scattered here and there are iso-
lated graves near some village where a badly wounded
man perhaps tried to crawl for help and bled to death
on the way.
Hung to the little posts enclosing the graves are seen
here and there wide mouthed bottles containing written
messages. Within these bottles one can read a message
from a mother or wife begging for anyone who can to
give them information about their missing son or hus-
band. Rarely will their aching hearts learn anything
about their loved one. He has been buried unmarked, a
shapeless and unidentified mass, or a shell explosion has
wiped him out completely.
On a hill commanding a view of the surrounding
country is the farm of Champfleury. Here Von Kluck
had his headquarters for eight days and saw that the
battle was lost, retreat was necessary to save what was
left and Germany's dream of world conquest was shat-
tered. The farm house has been repaired since the Ger-
mans left it, but it shows numerous scars of bullets and
shell fire. The proprietor told us that he left in his au-
tomobile for Paris as the Germans were seen coming
over the hill from the north. There was no hesitation
or hunting for suitable headquarters. The desirable
sites were apparently well known. The proprietor, of
the wealthy farmer class, had a good wine cellar, which
he found thoroughly demolished on his return. In the
front grounds stands a cherry tree with an iron chair
84 With the American Ambulance in France.
wedged securely among its branches. This seat must
have commanded a fine view of the battle for a staff of-
ficer or perhaps Von Kluck himself. On a wall and on a
table top are written some pleasantries in German script
with allusions to the good times they had had with cham-
pagne and billiards and regrets at leaving. These writ-
ings have not been effaced, nor has the billiard room,
battered and smashed, been changed from the condition
in which it was found on the return of the owner.
Beyond Champfleury is the farm of Poligny, very ef-
fectually burned by the Germans. The large wheat han-
gar was used by the enemy as a funeral pyre for 2000 of
their dead, and its twisted girders have fallen in on a
mass of ashes, broken tiles and melted bones. In this
region the Germans used a number of hangars for the
same purpose, perhaps because there was no time to bury
their dead, perhaps because they did not want their op-
ponents to know the extent of their losses. Frightened
peasants who were hiding in their cellars tell of shrieks
of dying men who were thrown into the fire.
At Etavigny, where there was heavy fighting, village
children presented us with handfuls of shrapnel balls
picked up in the fields. The church was badly damaged
by shells and lying at the portal is the church bell, rent
in twain. Among some blood stained straw strewn over
the floor we picked up some exploded cartridges.
Beyond Etavigny, where the Germans made a stand, is
a long line of trench now overgrown with grass. There
were empty tin cans, bits of clothing and leather to be
seen scattered about. Our chauffeur told us that on a
previous visit he had found a German boot attached to
what was once a leg, sticking out of the ground.
The booming of the cannon towards the east, the little
tri-color flags waving over the graves scattered among
the growing crops, the shell marked ruined villages, the
rolling plains stretching in every direction, are bound to
produce in the visitor's mind the question, "Why did not
the German army sweep on as they had through Belgium
The Battlefield of the Marne.
and Northern France and capture Paris?" "How was
it that this powerful machine with forty years of prep-
aration was stopped and driven back?"
Among- other problems, the military writers for cen-
turies to come will be kept busy on the explanation of
the battle of the Marne.
In an analysis of the reasons for the defeat of the
world-grasping German plan, the vitalizing moral forces
of the armies will ever be preeminent. Napoleon said that
"in war the moral is to the physical as three is to one."
The French soldiers were fighting in defense of their
country, their homes, wives and children. The British
soldier thought of homes a few miles across the channel.
The German soldier was fighting a war of aggression,
carnage, destruction of innocent towns and civilians. The
vain glory of hacking through Belgium and Northern
France with superior force, the lust of blood and slaugh-
ter could not stand against the moral forces of patriotism
and sacrifice that opposed them. Joffre well knew the
French soldier in his famous order of the day when he
said, "Une troupe qui ne pourra plus avancer devra, coute
que coute, garder le terrain conquis et se faire tuer plutot
que de reculer."
86 With the American Ambulance in France.
Early in the spring an aviation training camp was es-
tablished at Plessis-Belleville, about five miles from Juilly.
A wheat field was cleared off, huge hangars were erected
and, in a few days, a great number of aeroplanes made
their appearance. There were a variety of makes, from
the heavy, slow Farnam to the rapid Nieuport.
We were officially notified that we were now attached
to the organization as the surgical hospital, and we did
not have long to wait for our patients. Almost on the
first day an aeroplane fell from a great height and two
aviators were brought in with broken skulls, one to die
in a few hours, the other to recover, partly paralyzed,
after a long illness.
The aviators are a superior lot of men. First, they
have to pass strict physical tests, and also they are for
the most part men of superior education. Some of them
are descendants of the old nobility and still cherish in-
herited titles. Some speak English well and have trav-
eled in America. The flyers are young men, as older
men, over thirty, are considered to be too cautious. The
French say that to be an aviator a man has to be a little
peculiar — that a normal, sane man does not make a good
Accidents are frequent, five in one day. They are of
varying severity. One man got too near a propeller
and had half his scalp torn off. Broken legs and arms
are common. One poor fellow was high up in the air
when his machine caught fire and he was picked up a
An afternoon at the flying field is a great sight. There
are dozens of aeroplanes ascending and descending. Oth-
ers are soaring around in the heavens at great heights.
The aviators dress in a variety of uniforms, which seem
to be chosen according to personal taste, as there is no
88 With the American Ambulance in France.
fixed uniform. For cold weather they have shaggy coats
of animal skins. The headquarters are located in Prince
Radziwill's beautiful chateau at Ermenonville. The
building- is surrounded by a moat in medieval style. On a
small island in a nearby lake is the empty tomb of Rous-
seau, where the famous philosopher was buried before
his remains were transferred to the Pantheon. The Ger-
mans were here in September, 1914, but limited their dep-
redations to smashing in a few closets and bureaus. Some
of the servants of the chateau gleaned that the Germans
counted on returning after Paris was captured, in order
to enjoy the hunting for which Ermenonville is famous.
After the aviation field had been in use some months,
word passed around the Ambulance that there were some
American boys there in training. We hoped to see them
and were delighted one day, shortly before they left for
the front, to have a call from Thaw, Prince, McConnell
and Rockwell. They were a fine lot of fellows with the
quiet modesty of brave men who have done something
worth while but do not boast about it. They are held in
high esteem and admired by their French comrades, and
it seemed as if there could be no better recognition of
their bravery and skill. We were sorry not to see Victor
Chapman. The French say he is very daring. Norman
Prince is a nephew of Dr. Morton Prince of Boston, a
well known alienist, and is a Harvard graduate. He is
said to have originated the American Squadron as an or-
ganization. Thaw is a Yale man and has served in the
Foreign Legion. He is about 25 but looks much older.
Rockwell was also in the Foreign Legion. He is a
Southerner and is tall and handsome. McConnell is also
a Southerner but looks as if he might come from New
England. Thaw and McConnell are powerfully built,
Rockwell is slender and Prince is short and stocky. There
is a quiet air of determination and devotion about these
men that makes every one of us Americans feel proud of
our fellow countrymen.
We said good-by to them with sadness, feeling that it
Incidents and Observations.
was perhaps good-by and not an revoir. Alas, our fore-
bodings were too true. A few months later only Thaw
is left. Rockwell, Prince and McConnell have fallen on
the field of honor.
Well are these heroes worthy of the words of Alan
Seeger, the brilliant young poet of the Foreign Legion :
"Some there were
Who, not unmindful of the antique debt
Came back the generous path of Lafayette.
Yet sought they neither recompense nor praise,
Nor to be mentioned in another breath
Than their blue coated comrades whose great days
It was their pride to share — ay, share even to the death !
Nay, rather, France to you they rendered thanks
(Seeing they came for honor not for gain)
Who, opening to them your glorious ranks.
Gave them that grand occasion to excel,
That chance to live the life most free from stain
And that rare privilege of dying well."
INCIDENTS AND OBSERVATIONS.
We soon learned that there are several ways of speak-
ing French. Our blesses came from almost every part
of France, and as our ears became accustomed to the
French sounds, we learned to tell in a general way from
what part of France our soldiers came. The southerners
who sounded the mute "e" and the Bretons, were almost
unmistakable. Our "Henri IV" from Beam spoke in
such a jerky manner that he was understood with diffi-
culty by his comrades. He always called potatoes "po-
tate" instead of "pomme de terre."
One little Breton who used to make a living by sailing
to Dundee with loads of onions, spoke English with a
90 With the American Ambulance in Fran
Scotch accent and was nicknamed "Scottie. It was
amusing- to hear him talk, partly French and partly with
his strong Scotch accent. Me was shy at first, but grad-
ually became conscious of his linguistic accomplishments,
until one day when he was called on for a menial service
by one of his comrades, announced that he was "the in-
terpreter for the nurses."
After a while we learned that the soldiers use a good
many words not to be found in any standard dictionary.
In fact there is almost a new trench language, Target des
tranchees. One has to learn some of it if he is going to
understand what is going on. Paris is usually referred to
as "Panam" or "Pantruche." The canned meat of the
trench ration is "singe," coffee is "jus," wine is "pinard."
A comrade is a "poteau" or "pote." A wine-shop is a
"bistro" and so on. The origin of the word "poilu" is not
settled. Some say it comes from the whiskered appear-
ance of the soldiers on their return home on leave, others
that it was a term applied to Napoleon's brigadiers on
account of their large hair helmets. At any rate the
term has come to stay, not only in French writings but
* * *
One who has worked among French wounded cannot
but be impressed with the absence of personal hatred
shown by the French soldier against the Germans. They
hate the things the Germans stand for, the invasion and
devastation of peaceful countries, the destruction of un-
protected towns, the massacre of unoffending men,
women and children, the use of gas and liquid fire in war-
fare, but it was rare to find any expression of hatred
against the German soldier. In battle the French soldier
fights like a man with a noble heritage in defense of his
country and family, and it is well known that the Ger-
mans will not stand against them in a bayonet charge.
But once the wounded German comes into his hands
he is treated with the natural magnanimity of the race
in the spirit of Bayard. The American Ambulance driv-
92 With the American Ambulance in France.
ers tell us that they are instructed to carry badly wound-
ed Germans to the rear while the French wounded lie
there and await their turn.
I saw at Creil a little tow-headed Saxon prisoner in
a hospital ward with twenty or more French soldiers.
He received the same food as they did, laughed and joked
with them, played cards and it was hard to realize that
he was a prisoner. With the Major's permission I had
a little conversation with him. He said he didn't know
what they were fighting for and that he wished the war
was over so that he could go home to his family — that
he was called out and had to go with the army or be
>|c :j; $c ,
The French soldiers are a wonderfully happy lot of
men. As soon as they are well enough, they enjoy life,
relish their meals, play games, read, sing, listen to the
graphophone, make rings out of pieces of shells and other
trinkets, or walk around the park. Those who are laid up
for a long time with a bad fracture, weave baskets or
make shawls on a wooden frame. It was rare to see
one idle. The men who come from the invaded districts,
who have not seen or heard from their wives and chil-
dren for months or years, have a different look in their
eyes. It is a sad and thoughtful look. Woe betide any
German who stands in front of them in a bayonet charge !
The French are fond of ceremony and their ceremonies
of decorating soldiers are carried out in such a dignified
and touching manner that they are inspiring. I shall
never forget the first decoration that I saw. In the lit-
tle square in front of the college, two companies of troops
assembled. The troops were composed of territorials, old
fellows, gray-haired and bald-headed — the country's last
reserve. The soldiers formed a hollow square and pre-
sented arms, the bugles and trumpets sounded and a
wounded one-armed soldier stepped forward into the
center of the square, his cheeks red with excitement and
his remaining hand twitching with nervous exhilaration.
A funeral procession going from the hospital to the village church.
94 With the American Ambulance in France.
The Colonel then read a recital of the soldier's deeds of
valor, signed by Joffre, pinned the two decorations on the
soldier's breast and kissed him on both cheeks. The
trumpets sounded, the troops marched around the square
and we all congratulated the proud soldier on receiving
the Croix de Guerre and Medaille Militaire. We saw
quite a number of decorations. When we had a lot of
wounded from Verdun, sixteen men were decorated at
one ceremony and the embrace on both cheeks had
changed to a handshake. We had the feeling that every
man who fought at Verdun was a hero and should be
The soldier's funeral is sad and there is such simplicity
and pathos that we were always affected, but came away
with the feeling that the soldier had done a big and noble
thing in giving his life for his country. The funeral pro-
cessions started at the hospital and filed across the little
square to the village church. The blesses were there,
everyone who could make it — some on crutches, others
with arms in splints and heads swathed in bandages.
The village priest intoned the service assisted in the re-
sponses by the choir, consisting of one old man and a
nun who played the church organ. The ceremony over,
all who could walked to the cemetery on the edge of the
village. The coffin was usually carried by a detail of ar-
tillerymen from the neighboring post. At the cemetery
the coffin was deposited by the side of the freshly dug
grave, the priest chanted the ritual, each one in turn
sprinkled holy water on the bier and the crowd departed
leaving flowers on the coffin. No salute was fired, as no
powder is wasted. The booming of cannon towards
Soissons always brought to us the reality of war.
If the relatives of the dead soldier were present they
always stood at the gate of the cemetery and shook hands
with and thanked each one of us as we passed by.
* * *
A soldier's burial.
96 With the American Ambulance in France.
The poilu is a practical philosopher in the hospital. If
he has lost a limb he is thankful for the one that is left
to him. If he is badly wounded he is glad it is not worse.
Someone has worked out in words the philosophy of
the French soldier or the "Poilus' Litany" as follows:
"When I am mobilized, I shall either be kept in the
rear or sent to the front. If I remain in the rear there
is nothing to worry about. If I am sent to the front one
of two things can happen. I shall either be sent to a
post of no danger or to a dangerous position. If I am
sent to a post of danger, one of two things can happen.
I shall either be wounded or I shall not be wounded. If
I am not wounded, there is nothing to worry about. If
I am wounded, I shall either be slightly or severely
wounded. If I am slightly wounded, there is nothing to
worry about. If I am severely wounded, one of two
things can happen. I shall either get well, in which
case there is nothing to worry about, or I shall die, and
then I can't worry."
One day in the spring of 1916 as we were going into
the dining room of the Hotel du Grand Cerf at Senlis,
we passed a French general who was leaving the room
followed by several officers. The general was a medium-
sized man with a grayish moustache. His strong but
kindly face was marked with lines of care. A Belgian
in our party exclaimed, "That is General Foch !" so we
rushed to the window to have another look at him as he
entered his limousine and succeeded in getting a snap-
Before the war Foch was well known as a professor
in the military school at St. Cyr and his writings are
standard works on military subjects. As Joffre's right-
hand man he is recognized as the greatest strategist of
the French Army. At the battle of the Marne General
Foch commanded the Ninth army, and it was at the
marshes of St. Gond that he executed his famous
maneuver and sent his celebrated message : "My left is
broken, my right is routed, therefore I will attack with
We came very near having the distinguished general
for a patient at one time. A hurry call was sent for an
ambulance to go to an accident on the road not far from
Meaux. When our ambulance arrived there they found
a fine Rolls-Royce car badly damaged by a collision with
a stout elm tree. The passengers were no less than the
famous General Foch and his son-in-law. They were
both injured but, as it turned out, not seriously. Travel-
ing along the narrow road lined with trees, at a rapid
rate, it had been a question of going into a tree or
smashing into a peasant's cart containing some women
and children, and the chauffeur chose the former. It
was a narrow escape for the general and his loss from
such an accident would have been most untimely. We
offered him the best our hospital afforded but he pre-
ferred to go to the hospital at Meaux, where, on account
of it being a military center, he would have superior
telegraphic and telephonic communication. Our ambu-
lance carried him to Meaux as he wished and returned
to the hospital where everyone was disappointed that it
did not bring back the distinguished patient.
The next day one of our nurses was at Meaux visiting
a patient in the hospital and had the good fortune to
see General Joffre and President Poincare when they
came to visit General Foch.
They say that Foch is the master mind of strategy of
all France. He is very highly esteemed but for no one
have the people the affection that they have for Joffre.
Rarely has any man commanded the universal love and
admiration of an entire people as does "Papa" Joffre.
98 With the American Ambulance in France.
Someone brought a copy of Miss Aldrich's book, "A
Hilltop on the Marne," to the ambulance and we learned,
on consulting- the map, that her little village of Huiry
was within a few miles of us. One day we started out
to find it but, on arriving at the Marne, we could not
cross the river as the bridge had been blown up before
the battle and had not yet been repaired. Another day
we had better success by crossing the Marne higher up,
where we found a bridge that had been put in shape
again. By following an automobile map, we traced our
way along the country roads until we reached the charm-
ing village on the hilltop. There was no need of enquir-
ing for Miss Aldrich's home, as it stood before us just
as she described it with its ''six gables, jumble of roofs
and chimneys." The "small garden" was there "sepa-
rated from the road bv an old, gnarled hedge of hazel."
Apparently we were first mistaken for Cook's tourists
for which breed Miss Aldrich has a holy horror and
shudders at the thought that four hundred have alreadv
registered to visit her nest after the war. When we
properly identified ourselves we received a cordial Ameri-
can welcome. The view from her terrace was all that
she claimed for it, "a panorama rarely seen equaled,"
and it is described so much better in her book than T
could write about it that no description shall be at-
tempted. With field glasses we could plainly see the
villages scattered over the Marne valley and could see
the battlements of Juilly partly hidden in a hollow.
From the gifted authoress' vivid description we felt
that we ourselves had stood there as she did when the
cannon roared, the air was thick with smoke of shells
and burning villages and the fading cannon shot told
her that the foe was in retreat. Amelie. Aberlard and
the donkey were all there, just as described. We saw
the wood where the Uhlans had hidden and the road
where the Irish scout had fallen off his bicycle when
the effects of the large drink of eau de vie de prunes had
come upon him.
Late one winter's night at the end of January, 1916,
we were aroused by a peculiar roaring sound in the skv
which came from the direction of Paris and faded away
in the distance towards the front. Along with it we
recognized the familiar sounds of aeroplanes and could
hear the reports of cannon towards Paris. The next
day we learned that Paris had suffered a Zeppelin raid
and that these monsters must have passed over our
village on their return. A few houses demolished, huge
holes in the pavements, a score or so of men, women and
child ren killed in their beds, the French people more
determined than ever — such were the results of the
raid. What a stupid method of warfare ! Not one stroke
of military value accomplished and the raids in England
are the best means of stimulating recruiting.
* * *
One day we were surprised to see a British aviator
walk into the ambulance and enquire if there was any-
one here who could speak English. As he had run
short of gasolene and oil, he had descended in a nearby
field and left the aeroplane in charge of his comrade
while he started out in quest of these necessities. He
seemed somewhat surprised to find American men and
women in the war zone but concealed his surprise in
accordance with the tenets of English good form. He
did not volunteer to tell us where he had come from
or where he was going and we did not think it was
polite to ask him. He said, however, that as he was de-
scending he was glad to find that French peasants with
their rods for driving oxen did not turn out to be Uhlans
After supplying his lack of gasolene and oil and taking
a hasty lunch, he departed in a hurry, not forgetting his
comrade, as his pockets were well filled with bread and
A few days later came a polite letter from Paris
100 With the American Ambulance in France.
thanking- us for our hospitality, so we at least found out
* * *
On Washington's Birthday I attended the banquet of
the American Club as a guest of Mr. Benet, president
of the club. The dinner was an excellent one, given in
the large banquet room of the Hotel Palais d'Orsay and
was attended by about two hundred guests.
The finest thing of the evening was the speech of Henri
Bergson, the famous French philosopher. He gave an
analysis of Washington's character and achievements
that was a masterpiece. He spoke in simple language,
in clear, beautiful French so that I hardly missed a word.
Several times he quoted from Washington's farewell
address and from other writings, quoting from memory
and using perfect English. There were other speeches
in English and French (one by Denys Cochin, Minister
of State) but none to compare with Bergson's. To end
the evening's pleasure an American read a long, dry
speech, which almost spoiled the whole evening.
# * *
Some of my letters home were published in the local
newspapers. Among other incidents I related that a field
hospital was bombed by German aviators and this was
kept up on succeeding days, even when the location of
the hospital was changed. The publication of this inci-
dent brought forth a protest from a local German that
it could not be true and a request for further investi-
gation. A round robin published by five American war
correspondents, Bennet, McCutchen, Cobb, Hansen and
Lewis, about alleged German cruelties in Belgium was
adduced as an argument that such accusations were with-
out any foundation. I refused to enter into a controversy
at 8000 miles distance and replied that time and history
would decide whether atrocities had been committed or
not. The inadequacy of a "round robin" of any war
correspondents on the German side is very evident, as
French peasants at the bedside of their wounded son.
102 With the American Ambulance in France.
any acquaintance with the methods of the German staff
shows that what the correspondents are allowed to ob-
serve is carefully attended to in the German system. The
war correspondents on the German side are so carefully
chaperoned that they see only what the staff wants them
to see. The overwhelming evidence from Belgium and
Northern France as to burning", pillaging, rapine and mur-
der of innocent civilians as part of Germany's system of
frightfulness will be presented and proven to the world in
a way that can not he explained away by German subtlety
Richard Norton of Boston in charge of the American
Volunteer Motor-Ambulance Corps attached to one of
the divisions of the French armies, made an interesting
point in one of his letters concerning Germany's pre-
paredness in the use of poisonous gas. After quoting
the Bulletin of Information, distributed to the troops on
October 1st, 1915, which states the numbers of prisoners
and cannons captured in the Champagne offensive, he
"In this notice no mention is made of some very in-
teresting gas machines that were taken. The}' were of
two sorts, one for the production of gas, the other to
counteract its effects. The latter were rather elaborate
and heavy but very effective instruments consisting of
two main parts ; one to slip over the head, protecting the
eyes and clipping the nose, the other an arrangement of
bags and bottles containing oxygen, which the wearer
inhaled through a tube held in the mouth. There were
several forms of these apparatus, but the most inter-
esting point to note about them is that one had stamped
upon it the words : 'Type of 191-1 — developed from type
of 1912, developed from type of 1908,' thus showing that
seven years ago the Germans had decided to fight with
One cannot but be impressed with the devotion and
spirit of sacrifice of the French people. The cry "Liberty,
Equality and Fraternity," a hundred years or so ago
made the poorly paid and equipped armies of the French
revolution irresistible. In 1870 the same spirit was there
but France was poorly led and the poilu never had a
France has made large sacrifices and is willing to make
more. "The Germans must be driven out and Prussian-
ism must be overthrown, else our children and grand-
child ren will be called on to defend France again. Bet-
ter is it to make further sacrifices jusqu'au bout, for the
sake of our children and their children."
The world knows of the steadfastness and bravery of
the poilu, but not enough of the women of France. It is
safe to say that France could not have held out had it
not been for the women. A large number of shells fired
at the invaders of their country are made by women's
hands. White-haired grandmothers are working in the
Red Cross. In the country it is a common sight to see
women gathering in the crops. Children, too, of tender
years are out in the fields in the cold rain, tending sheep,
driving carts and helping with the harvest. It is not
only in the way of replacing the men at productive tasks
that the French women are so magnificent but it is their
spirit which is so much to be admired. Women who
have lost husbands, or sons, or brothers, are fulfilling
their daily tasks with smiling faces, inspiring with their
brave spirit the soldier in the trenches.
104 With the American Ambulance in France.
The colonel was in command of a body of the famous
Colonial troops in the offensive. They left the firing
line at 9:15 on the morning of September 25th and
charged for the German trenches under heavy shell fire.
The colonel felt himself hit several times, but suffered
no pain and was not disabled. The German trench was
reached and there was some fierce hand to hand fighting.
Right into a crowd of his men a bomb was thrown and
lay smoking on the floor of the trench. There was not
a moment to lose. The colonel seized the bomb and
threw it back towards the Germans. As he hurled it
away, it exploded and his hand was blown to pieces.
He then became conscious of great pain and was evacu-
ated to the rear. When he reached our hospital we found
him suffering from twelve wounds. After months of
hospital treatment necessary for his recovery, he again re-
ported for duty with request for active service.
One day during his convalescence we went for a drive
and, as we rested on a hill which commanded a superb
view of the fertile plain, dotted with groves of trees and
little villages, the colonel looked out and exclaimed,
"Well, this is a land worth fighting for!"
One of our blesses from Verdun was a ruddy-faced,
stalwart sergeant. When I examined his scalp wound
he showed me his steel helmet with a bullet hole in it and
told this story:
"In one of the furious attacks at Verdun we were
charging the Germans with the bayonet. Directly in
front of me on a little mound was a tall Prussian officer
with a great plume in his helmet. He had a revolver in
his hand and as I charged towards him, he pointed it
at different parts of me, first at my stomach, then at
my chest. I expected any moment to receive the ball.
Finally when I was barely two metres away he fired at
my head. I felt a blow on my head and my casque was
He then paused, so I asked, "And what happened
He replied, "Well, I kept right on running."
"What happened next?" I asked.
"I took these field glasses off from around his neck
and I am glad to give them to you as a souvenir of
A well-known American manufacturer of artificial legs
established a branch office in Paris. Thanks to the gener-
osity of friends every ampute goes out of Juilly hospital
walking on two feet. The gift of an artificial leg costing
500 francs is a very practical form of charity as it enables
a man in many cases to resume his trade and support his
A soldier reforme, whose leg has been amputated at the
middle of the thigh, comes out from Paris to take the
necessary measurements and attend to the fittings. He
walks with scarcely a limp and may be said to be a walk-
ing advertisement for his firm. Our artificial leg measurer
was wounded in the battle of the Marne, near Barcy,
which is only a few miles from Juilly. He related his story
to us as follows :
"Before the war I was a grocer. I was mobilized at
the onset and sent into active service. I went through all
the horrors and hardships of the retreat from the Belgian
frontier. At times we marched along, sound asleep, and
our comrades fell in the road from exhaustion. We didn't
know what was going to happen to us. We were at the
limit of our endurance. When the order came that we
were to make a stand and die rather than give way fur-
ther, it was welcomely received. Our regiment was soon
engaged with the Bodies and we went at them with de-
termination in our hearts and the consciousness that we
were driving them back from our women and children.
108 With the American Ambulance in France.
The second clay of the battle we were fighting in the open
fields at close quarters late in the afternoon. I was on
one knee firing at the Germans, when a rifle ball struck
me near the knee and tore up my thigh. I fell over, my
comrades passed on and I lay out in the field in a half-
conscious condition. I was aroused several hours later
by the sound of voices, speaking German. It was dark
and in the distance flashes of cannon lit up the night. I
was carried by the Germans to the town of Vareddes,
near by, where I was dumped on the floor of the Mairie
along with many other wounded. Here I lay for three days
on the stone floor with some water and a few pieces of
bread to sustain me. I saw limbs cut off without anaes-
thetics. The shrieks of the sufferers were terrible. The
odor of my leg warned me that I was in a bad way. Sud-
denly, on the fourth day, the Germans departed, driven
out by the French.
"I was one of six wounded placed in a large truck and
sent to Paris. Three of us arrived there alive. We were
taken to a hospital. I was delirious but conscious enough
to hear the doctor say there was no use in amputating my
leg. It was too late. I roused up and begged the doctor
to amputate and give me the chance. He agreed. I do
not remember much what happened during the next few
weeks but I gradually recovered and in three months was
out of the hospital. One day, limping along on my
crutches, I saw a sign 'American Artificial Legs.' I en-
tered the shop and made arrangements to obtain one. I
became interested in the construction and fitting of the
leg and delighted when I found I could use it so readily.
On account of my speaking some English the manager
offered me a position and so now I have changed from
a grocer into an artificial leg artisan and I have fitted
several hundred legs and know there will be many more."
A School Teacher's Story.
A SCHOOL TEACHER'S STORY.
A reservist of the active army, I was called the second
day of mobilization to join my regiment. The 5th of
August, 1914, we departed for the eastern front. My
regiment formed at this time the part of the second army
in command of General Dubail. Our duty was to ad-
vance into Lorraine by Sarrebourg. The advance com-
menced from the 8th of August and on the 14th I found
myself for the first time in contact with Bavarian in-
fantry. It is not easy to give an exact idea of my first
impressions of combat. It rests in my mind like a dream
bordering on a nightmare. The sharp whistling of the
bullets, the overwhelming roar of the cannonade, the
cries of the wounded, the death rattle, the irresistible,
"En avant, a la baionnette," then the dead bodies, the
wounded begging to be carried off the field, the broken
guns and equipment scattered here and there, furnish a
picture never to be forgotten and impossible to describe
in words. I have seen other combats since, attacks and
hand to hand fighting, but they have never left the im-
pression on me like the first encounter.
The Bavarians had to retreat. Proud of our first suc-
cess we marched ahead and on the 15th of August we
crossed the frontier singing the "Marseillaise," with our
flag unfurled at the head of the regiment. The frontier
boundary post was torn up with general enthusiasm and
cries of "Vivent l'Alsace et Lorraine." Alas ! our joy was
a passing one. On the 16th we arrived in sight of Sarre-
bourg. Saluted by a hail of artillery we advanced now
very slowly, marching at wide intervals, while about us
the "Marmites" fell with a deafening noise, marking
their passage by large holes, veritable tombs dug by in-
fernal shovels. They were real tombs, because the un-
happy victims sleep now their last sleep in these shell
holes. Some troops penetrated to Sarrebourg where they
were feted by the inhabitants, or at least by those who
110 With the American Ambulance in Prance.
had remained French. Flowers, cigars, cakes and wines
were for them gifts of welcome. These bodies of troops
were forced to stop at the exit of the city as the enemy
artillery cnt them down. For my part I was busy with
my section in a field of oats digging individual "abris"
which would protect us somewhat against the balls. These
shelters were our dining rooms, lounging and bed rooms.
Smoking became a delicate operation, a wise art. As to
exposing oneself, it was not to be thought of. The six
biscuits and the can of meat called "monkey-meat" by
the soldiers, were all we had to eat for these two days.
During the night of August 18th we were able to retire
to a small village several kilometres from Sarrebourg,
where we had the pleasure of sleeping three long hours
on fresh piles of hay. At 2 o'clock in the morning the
arrival of shells in the village announced itself by a tre-
mendous crashing of roofs. It was necessary to retreat
and now the advance guard had to pass through Sarre-
bourg again. The German element exultingly showed
their satisfaction of seeing the flight of the red pantaloons
by firing on them from the windows with rifles and re-
volvers. The enemy troops pursued our advance guard
and inflicted considerable loss on them. Unfortunately
the fight was too unequal. We were overwhelmed by the
shells which, minute by minute, followed each other in
groups of six. We lacked artillery to cause similar losses
in the ranks of the enemy. Retreat commenced at night-
fall. What a turmoil ! Pursued, confused, we fled on all
sides, not knowing where to go. We had to tramp across
the fields in the dark night over bad and unknown roads.
Miles succeeded miles. At each instant one fell over
exhausted soldiers sleeping in the fields or along the sides
of the road. These we roused or dragged along to aban-
don again to their fatigue some distance beyond. Others
trailed behind too far where, unhappy thought, they were
taken prisoners by the Boches. How many thus fell into
the hands of the Germans ! The 21st of August we again
crossed the frontier, but this time it was to return into
A School Teacher's Story.
France. The frontier post was there, lying in the river
bed. It seemed to reproach us now in waiting for the
Germans to replace it, to carry it further back perhaps.
We will take it again, we will carry back the frontier
post to the other side of the Rhine even if it takes our
last man !
After several unsuccessful attempts to take the offensive
we arrived near the forts of Epinal. Our lines were re-
organized and we prepared to undertake a vigorous offen-
sive. On the 28th we drove the Germans out of a nearby
village while the chasseurs alpins, who had come to our
aid, captured another village in a furious bayonet charge.
There I saw, after this combat, one of our soldiers and a
German infantryman standing upright against a wall each
one of them transfixed with a bayonet and still holding
their mnskets in spite of death which had done its work
some time before.
We now advanced rapidly. The Germans, not being
supported by their heavy artillery, were incapable of with-
standing our offensive. We passed through villages bom-
barded and burned all in ruins, not a house standing. Most
of them were a pile of ruins. From this debris there was
already a nauseating ordor of decaying animals, which
had not been able to get away : of human beings too,
perhaps under those ruins. Early in September we
reached the banks of the Meurthe. Tomorrow we shall
again be at the frontier. Alas ! No ! We have to make
a detour and go to support at St. Mihiel the shock of the
Crown Prince's army, which is resolutely advancing on
this side, while to the north our troops are drawing
quickly back before the German assault. It has since
been said that St. Mihiel and Nancy formed the pivot of
the maneuver. It was this pivot it was necessary to de-
fend. Severe fighting ensued at le Grand Couronne, near
Nancy. Towards St. Mihiel, which was defended by forts,
there were only skirmishes. The enemy attacked the
forts. They launched three unsuccessful attacks against
the fort of Troyon.
112 With the American Ambulance in France.
We were called to aid the army at the Aisne after they
had driven back the Germans at the battle of the Marne.
We arrived at St. Menehould, then we marched to the
Camp of Chalons but after one stage we returned. The
enemy had succeeded in capturing the fort of Troyon.
We had to return to where we were three days before
and attack the Germans occupying the village of Apre-
In the early days of October we occupied the redoubts
of the fort of Lionville. There for eight days we had
to submit to a most violent bombardment. An entire
section of my company with the captain were engulfed in
one of the redoubts. It was impossible to rescue them.
After such a bombardment the enemy attacked, always
in compact masses according to their custom. Their
losses were enormous. Mowed clown by our machine
guns, the heaps of corpses preserved very clearly the
formation of columns by fours. French and Germans
were on the watch at 50 meters from each other. It was
impossible to bury the dead and, from time to time, shells
from both sides struck these corpses and blew them into
pieces. Cruel profanation.
After a month there we retired about two kilometers
in the rear for a rest. There I was wounded in the
right shoulder by a piece of shell. I was far from ex-
pecting such an occurrence at this time, when I thought
I was in safety. I was evacuated and after thirty hours
of cruel suffering on the train I reached the hospital
where I was taken care of until I reported at my de-
pot. I was soon again at the front. Now it was the war of
the trenches, a warfare not interesting. I remained there
five months without noting a single event really inter-
esting. I saw only one casque a point, which one was
that of a prisoner. From time to time an insignificant
bombardment, the periodical flooding of the trenches with
water, the digging that went on, the games of cards at
the bottom of a hole, the silence of the night disturbed
occasionally by a rifle shot fired by a sentinel who, strug-
A School Teacher's Story.
gling against the desire for sleep, tries to keep himself
awake by shooting. Voila la guerre en tranchees.
Twenty days in the trenches, twenty days of repose.
The first of August, after violent pain, my wound of
last year broke open and discharged. I was evacuated
to Compiegne and from there to Juilly. At the American
Hospital they extracted the piece of shell which for nine
months was for me a very troublesome guest. Now I
am almost well.
I would fear to offend the modesty of the doctors and
nurses if I set forth their merits. Let me simply say
that I have found among the Americans who have left
their land to come to France to care for their wounded
brothers, a devotion, vigilant attention and constant care
which makes me admire them and in them admire the
great nation, sister of France beyond the Atlantic, the
United States of America.
In thanking them all from the bottom of my heart, I
terminate my little story.
We cared for one soldier of the Foreign Legion. He
was an architect living in Chicago, an American of
French descent. There was nothing warlike in his na-
ture but he could not withstand the call of the blood
when France was invaded.
114 With the American Ambulance in Prance.
A FOREIGN LEGION SOLDIER'S STORY.
I left my home in Chicago in the middle of September,
1914, and boarded the French liner "Rochambeau" at
New York. After an uneventful trip of nine days I
landed at Havre, where I enlisted in the Foreign Legion.
The Foreign Legion now serving in the war against
Germany has little in common with the two world famous
regiments stationed in Algeria. While most of our
officers were drawn from those regiments only two bat-
talions were sent out from Africa to "encadrer" the
foreign volunteers. The remainder were either kept in
Algeria and Morocco or sent to the Dardanelles or to
some distant colony like Indo-China.
In order to train the foreign volunteers six depots were
provided. The second regiment had three depots —
Toulouse, Orleans and Blois. I was sent to Toulouse
where battalion C was being organized and two days
after my arrival I witnessed the departure of that bat-
talion for the front. A very picturesque sight it was to
see them go, all brave hearts, ready to sacrifice them-
selves for the cause of France. Each of them was flying
on his knapsack the colors of his respective country.
Uncle Sam was represented by a good sprinkling of the
Stars and Stripes lost amidst a greater number of Rus-
sian, English, Belgian and other flags.
After a two months' hard drilling, the depot was trans-
ferred to Orleans and 1 stayed there until January 25,
1915. I was then ordered to the front with a reinforce-
ment 200 strong.
Our regiment with four battalions occupied a front
ahout two miles long before the plateau of Craonne and
the ruined city of that name, where the Germans are
so strongly fortified that its capture would cost at least
I soon got acquainted with the routine of the service
Six days trenches, six days rest. The part of our sector
A Foreign Legion Soldier's Story.
occupied by our company was about 1000 yards from
the Germans and was therefore a quiet one. It would
have been even more so, had it not been for the artillery
of the Germans which daily showered on us fire and
steel. No event of any importance occurred during my
four months' stay there except the trial by court-martial
of nine Russians who refused to go to the trenches.
Found guilty, they were executed the next day at dawn.
There 1 came to know the real "Legionnaire" by which
I mean the one from Africa. The following verses which
I plagiarize from the comic opera "Les Mousquetaires an
Convent" quite well typifies them. I only substitute the
word "Legionnaire" for "Mousquetaire :"
Pour etre tin brave Legionnaire
II faut avoir l'esprit joyeux
Grand air et leger caractere
Aimer les femmes, boire encore mieux.
But good fellows after all and ready to help when sober.
We left Craonne in May and were sent to Sillery, a
very bad place, where the battalion lost 150 men in one
week. We were then shifted over to a place near Rheims
and in July were sent to rest in the neighborhood of
President Poincare and General Jo fire came to review
us and we were presented with a flag which was well
earned by ten months of warfare.
After a short time in Alsace, where I got a sight of
the famous Hartmannwillerskopf of which so much has
been written, we were ordered to Champagne with the
whole Moroccan division, of which we were a part, and
on the 25th of September took an active part in the
On the 26th while entrenched on the plain in front
of the "Ferme Navarin" as reserve of the 6th Army
Corps, I volunteered in the midst of bursting shells to
go and get some water for my squad. On my return I
was struck by a shell which fractured my femur, missing
the femoral artery by only a hair. Carried away from
116 With the American Ambulance in France.
the field of battle to Souain I spent the night on a stretcher
suffering with a terrible fever while the rain poured
down. The next day the motor ambulance took me to
Chalons and from there I was sent to the ambulance at
Juilly where I found myself again in America. Thanks
to the good care which I received my wounds soon healed
up and the bone united so that I will be able to walk as
well as ever.
To the end of the offensive the Legion, faithful to its
glorious past, distinguished itself but was almost wiped
out. The original number has very much dwindled and
only one regiment is left under the name of Regiment
de marche de la Legion Etrangere but it is as eager to
fight and die for the cause of Right and Justice as it
was on the first day of the war.
One of our blesses was a little rag picker. He was
always smiling, so someone named him "Sunny Jim" and
the name clung to him. As his comrades adopted the
name the little poilu became proud of it and signed him-
self your grateful "Sanidaime." A German bullet had
gone through his temple cutting the optic nerve of one
eye but "Sunny Jim" was happy that he had one good
After a few days our little poilu told us about his
experiences in the Champagne offensives.
Sunny Jim's Story.
SUNNY JIM'S STORY.
"At three o'clock the morning- of September 25th, we
left our camp for the 'tranchees de depart.' At five
o'clock we arrived at our destination. There was a ter-
rific bombardment going on. We filled our musettes
with grenades. The news soon circulated in the trench
that we would attack at a quarter past nine. The time
passed as we sat quietly on the floor of the trench wait-
ing for the opportunity to measure ourselves with the
cursed Boches. At nine o'clock we stood ready. At
nine ten we fixed bayonets. Suddenly a short order
spread down the line. We sprang over the edge and
crossed the barbed wire. As far as we could see on
each side of us were our comrades running forward.
This gave us courage. We arrived at the first line. There
was not a live German there, only dead ones. Our artil-
lery fire had destroyed the trench and we could see arms
and legs sticking out of the earth. Some of our soldiers
began to fall but we kept on and passed the second and
third trenches which were as badly battered as the first.
Then out in the open, bullets began to arrive in great
numbers, also shells, but we kept on. Suddenly we came
across a strong force of the enemy. Now it was time to
know how to use the bayonet. We threw ourselves on
them and the combat was on, a terrible melee. Steel
met steel, and steel was driven into flesh until the Ger-
mans gave way and retreated. But we did not give them
time to get away. Just as we had advanced about a
hundred metres a ball struck me in the head and laid me
out senseless. I fell into the ditch along the roadside.
I lay there twenty-four hours regaining consciousness
several times only to faint away again. Finally during
the night I came to myself. I was tortured by thirst. I
had two bidons of water with me but I was too weak to
raise myself. The next day stretcher bearers passed by
and saw us. I was not alone, as a dead comrade lay
118 With the American Ambulance in Prance.
alongside of me. They looked at us but thinking us both
dead they were about to go on when I collected my forces
sufficiently to cry out for something to drink. They then
picked me up and carried me to Souain where I received
the first dressing. From there I was taken to Chalons
and after three days I was sent to Juilly. It will be
with regret that I will quit this hospital for which I shall
always have a pleasant and ineffaceable memory."
THE CHASSEUR'S STORY.
I was mobilized the second of August, 1914. As soon
as I arrived at my depot, we were sent to join the active
forces in Belgium. We crossed the Belgian frontier on
August 12th, and continued to Charleroi where the little
Belgian soldiers fought like lions against the Bodies but
unfortunately we arrived too late and the retreat com-
The retreat was in good order. At one time we were
the advance guard, clearing the road in order to avoid
ambuscades, at other times we were the rear guard, pro-
tecting the retreat of our brothers in arms.
The first serious combat that I took part in was at Moy,
a village between la Fere and St. Quentin. From seven
in the morning to six at night we held the Germans,
although we were inferior in number. Finally over-
whelmed by numbers we had to retreat again in the
direction of la Fere. We marched two days and two
nights without halting and crossed the forest of Nouvion,
which was full of Boche ambuscades. At the exit of
this forest a detachment of English troops joined with
us and on September 2nd the Paris autobuses picked us
up and transported us to Nanteuil le Haudoin.
On September 6th we received the order of the com-
mander in chief calling on us to hold our ground and to
The Chasseur's Story.
die rather than give way. The combat commenced on
the sixth, about seven o'clock in the morning — a terrible
struggle for three days and nights, when on the ninth
of September the Bodies began to waver in their re-
sistance. That was a good augury for us and we re-
doubled our efforts, which brought about the retreat of
the Germans. The pursuit commenced and continued to
Chateau Thierry. There we had a rest of twenty-four
hours and there we had the pleasure of cleaning up at
least two hundred Germans whom we found in the cellars
dead drunk on champagne, their favorite drink.
We were then carried by taxi-cabs to a village near
Soissons, where we did not have much trouble in driving
out the enemy, as they were on the run. In spite of that
many corpses were strewn over the ground.
The German retreat continued to Berry an Bac, where
I was wounded in the right shoulder by two bullets from
a machine gun. I lay on the ground under fire of the
enemy's artillery until night fall, when I reached a vil-
lage, whence I was transported in a camion to the rail-
road station, where 1 met a number of other wounded.
We piled into freight cars and reached the hospital at
Dinan after thirty-six hours.
In six weeks I was back at the front. I rejoined my
battalion on the heights of the Meuse. It was now the
war of the trenches. The winter was not an unhappy
one. There were not many attacks made or received.
Each side saved his forces for the spring.
On the thirteenth of February the order was given to
attack the crest of Eparges and we drove back the
Bodies to their last line of trenches, fighting with gre-
nades, rifle buts and even with our fists. We were for-
tunate in not losing many men and our attack exceeded
the expectations of our chiefs. Half of the crest was
now in our possession. On the ninth of March we at-
tacked again to take the rest. The attack was admirably
carried out. Our artillery belched forth a storm of shells
and the Bodies drew back. After three days of fighting
120 With the American Ambulance in France.
all the crest was in our hands save one position, the
In spite of the enemy's counter attacks we remained
masters of the crest although the enemy counter at-
tacked seventeen times during the next twenty-four
hours. Our losses in repulsing these counter attacks
were heavy. In front of our trenches there was a veri-
table charnel house where our dead and the enemy's were
piled up high.
On April 6th and 7th we again attacked the position
X, and after a series of assaults the Boches were driven
down the hill with heavy losses. Our commandant was
killed by a ball in the forehead and shortly afterwards I
was wounded by a piece of shell in the left shoulder. I
did not see the end of the combat, as I was evacuated by
an ambulance to the rear to Dugny, where I spent three
weeks in the hospital.
On the first of August we were given a "repos" of
forty-five days near Bar le Due. How delicious it was,
especially in August. Soldiers, civilians, women and
children — everyone worked at reaping the harvest and
housing the crops.
On September 10th we marched to the Champagne
front and on the morning of the 25th we took part in
the offensive. The terrain, swept by artillery fire, was
prepared for us, the troops leaped over the parapet and
we took the two first lines of the enemy's trenches,
scarcely firing a shot. The artillery had well done its
The same day we attacked the second reserve, the last
German lines. This terrible combat lasted all day, and
in spite of heavy losses, we broke through their defenses
and pursued them in the open. At dusk the rain began
co fall and hindered our advance. We lay out in the mud
all night, hastily fortifying the ground we had taken, and
the rain never ceased to fall. What an anxious night
amid the groans of the wounded and dying and we
working in the rain with sad hearts.
The Chasseur s Story.
Our patrols sent on in advance reported that the
Bodies were being reinforced and were fortifying- them-
selves feverishly. At dawn we advanced again. Our
captain was killed by a ball in the ear, the lieutenant was
struck by a shell and the two sergeants, brave and good
comrades, were killed on each side of me. As hardly any
officers were left I was obliged to take command of our
section as we were to attack the little fort of the bois
It was no small undertaking to take this fortress, as it
was defended by at least two hundred machine guns,
which did not cease to sweep the ground. The soil was
well covered with dead and wounded. For two hours we
lay flat on the ground under a storm of bullets until our
colonel gave the order to take this redoubt at any price.
At this moment and as one man the two battalions rose
and charged forward and after an hour or more of bay-
onet and grenade fighting we were masters of this fort.
As booty we captured two hundred machine guns, two
trench mortars, a pump for liquid fire and two appara-
tus for asphyxiating gas, besides a quantity of ammu-
nition, rifles, grenades and other equipment.
Our battalion flag was cited in the Order of the Armies
and proposed for the Legion of Honor.
The same night we were relieved by a battalion of
Chasseurs, who continued the attack. During our return
to the rear the Bodies bombarded us with gas shells. I
was wounded in the head by three pieces of shell, and I
was almost asphyxiated by the gas that I inhaled. How
long I lay on the ground I can't say. Two hours at least
or perhaps less. When I came to myself I perceived a
feeble light in the distance to which I directed myself,
and had the good fortune to fall on to a "poste de se-
cours," where my wounds were dressed. From there I
was sent to Suippes, where I was placed on a sanitary
train and sent to a hospital at La Rochelle.
After my wounds were healed, I reported at my depot
122 With the American Ambula nce in France.
whence I was sent to a section on the Pas-de-Calais, a
rather quiet part of the line.
During a month's time we were on more or less good
terms with the Bavarians opposite us and exchanged
bread, chocolate, cigars and cigarettes until the Bava-
rians were relieved by a detachment of the Imperial
Guard. The Prussians blew up seven mines under the
trench where my company was stationed and buried all
but eight of my company. Completely dazed, we joined
ourselves to a small group of bombardiers of another
company and we retook from the Bodies 80 metres of
trench by grenade fighting.
After being relieved from our position we had a short
rest before we were ordered to Verdun.
For nine days in the first line the Bodies attacked us
twelve times with gas and liquid fire. These attacks
with massed troops cost the Germans enormous losses.
Our losses were heavy enough from the bombardment of
cannon of all calibres, a bombardment never ceasing day
and night. How many of my comrades lie there about
our positions, still in death ! It was a frightful sight to
see, the dead heaped up in piles, dead horses, and pieces
of caissons and cannon strewn around.
Our trenches were continually damaged by the explo-
sion of "marmites" and for nine days and nights we had
little rest. We were always engaged in watching the
enemy day and night and in repairing the damage done
to our trenches.
On the tenth day we were relieved from the first line to
positions further back, where we were held in reserve, but
there the "marmites" continually fell. I became an
"agent de liaison" and carried orders from the Colonel
of the Brigade. I carried on this duty for eight days,
when I was wounded by a German shell in both legs, right
hand and back. I was carried to the poste de secours,
where I fainted. When I came to myself they lifted me
into an American automobile having on its side a plate
inscribed "don de la Societe Hotchkiss." This car car-
A Trip to the Front.
ried me to Revigny and from there I was evacuated to
the American Ambulance of Juilly, where I recognized
the driver who had carried me to Revigny.
I can only render homage to the doctors and nurses
who have surrounded me with such good care during
my stay here. Homage to America, our Sister Re-
A TRIP TO THE FRONT.
The land of the trenches always seemed a land of mys-
tery to us. The booming of the cannon every day told
us where the trenches lay, but a nearer acquaintance
with the front was well nigh impossible for a non-com-
batant. Everyone in the ambulance had his or her place
assigned and was not expected to step out of it. As time
passed restrictions became more stringent. Each one of
us was supplied with a "carnet d'etranger" which con-
tained our photograph and signature and specific direc-
tions as to all movements in the war zone and this book
had to be shown on going to Paris and returning by train.
Our friends at Neuilly in the earlier months could visit
us by procuring a pass following a week's application.
Later this was shut down on and it was extremely diffi-
cult to obtain permission to go to Juilly. The authorities
could not afford to have Americans or anyone else run-
ning around in the war zone.
In the early months of the war it was perhaps feasi-
ble for some of the American surgeons to visit the front,
but in our time the matter was so difficult that it was not
However, I reasoned that, having worked a year for
the French wounded, I might be entitled to a trip to the
front as a sort of recompense. Then, too, having come
124 With the American Ambulance in France.
from such a far distance and being so near the front for
so many months, the regret of missing this experience
would always be a keen one. It would do no harm to
try, so forthwith a letter was written to the Surgeon
General at Headquarters requesting permission. A
courteous reply was received in a few days enclosing a
pass to Chalons, either by rail or auto. I chose the latter
in order to see more of the country and to be more in-
Early on a sunny morning in June I started with Fa-
brice, our Italian chauffeur, in the Medecin-Chef's lim-
ousine. We took the well-known road to Meaux along
an edge of the Marne battlefield. Leaving Meaux with
its picturesque old mills in the river and its venerable
cathedral we passed through beautiful woods until we
reached La Ferte Jouarre, where we crossed the Marne.
Near Napoleon's monument on the outskirts of Mont-
mirail our trip nearly ended disastrously for we discov-
ered that the car was on fire. The hot gases emerging
from a hole in the muffler had ignited the oil-soakecl
wood work and one side of the car was blazing merrily.
After tearing out the loose boards, waste, rags, extra
tubes and inflammable material and hurling them out of
the way, we tried in vain to beat out the fire with our
overcoats. If it had not been for some water in a wheel
rut near by, our trip would have ended then and there
and our car would have been reduced to cinders and
scrap iron. The kindly shade of an elm tree kept the
water from drying up by the sun's rays. Our caps an-
swered for fire buckets to get the fire under control, and
a peasant with a bucket of water did the rest. Tust at
that time a military car came along at a great rate of
speed, its wheels grinding into the very rut which had
been our salvation. Another remarkable thing was that
along all the 125 kilometres that we did that day nc
other rut with water in it was seen. We thanked our
lucky star that the fire had not reached the gasolene tank,
crawled into Montmirail with a careful watch alongside
A Trip to the Front.
and, after some delay, found a mechanic who made the
From there on to Chalons the road ran straight as an
arrow and smooth as a billiard table — the kind of road
one reads about in novels but hardly expects to ever
enjoy. Red poppies mingled with the blue of the corn
flower, grew in profusion, and only needed the white
shine of the road to complete the tricolor.
No other accident stopped us, but we were halted at
every railroad crossing by Territorials who examined our
pass in a critical manner.
Chalons is famous historically for the defeat of Attila,
the Hun, by the Romans and Goths in 451 A. D. The
town was full of bustle and excitement for it is a great
army center. The principal hotel with the strange name
of L'hotel Haute Mere Dieu, was full of officers at lunch
time, and I managed to find an inconspicuous place in the
dining room. It was an interesting sight to watch the
officers of different types, from stout, white-haired gen-
erals to young dapper lieutenants. I thought I was the
only American for miles around until I ran into A. Piatt
Andrews, Director of the Field Ambulance Service, who
was taking Will Irwin and Arthur Gleason to write up
an American Field Service section for the instruction
of the American public.
According to my instructions, I presented my creden-
tials at the Service de Sante, and was courteously re-
ceived by General Bechard, and a fine limousine was
placed at my disposal with a colonel of the medical
service as my conductor.
The General mapped out a plan of a three days' visit
to the hospitals of Chalons and field hospitals toward the
front and then asked if there was anything more he
could do for me. I replied that "I wanted very much to
go to the trenches." "Ah," he said, "that is a military
matter and you can only obtain permission from military
headquarters." This advice was not encouraging but
was enlightening. So for the present there was nothing
126 With the American Ambulance in France.
to do but enjoy the many interesting things to see and
reserve a trip to the trenches for the dernier coup.
As Chalons is an important military center there are
a large number of hospitals there, admirably organized
and equipped. Among the number of hospitals visited
was one for mental cases — for brains unbalanced by the
strain of war. There were a variety of types of mental
aberration — manias, melancholies, delusions fixed and
fleeting, mutism in different forms. It was sad indeed
to see what war had done to these young minds, but
with it all there was hope that time, rest and quiet would
work an improvement. There was not the hopeless de-
pression one feels on entering a ward of blind soldiers.
A took could be written on the different phases of
mental disorders caused by this warfare. I shall merely
relate the features of the curious case of a young artist.
He was a well-dressed, trim young chap and whenever he
saw any button unbuttoned, he took it on himself to but-
ton it. He never spoke a word and apparently did not
hear anything, as he paid no attention to noises or to
anything that was said to him. For amusement he
painted pretty little views of the hospital garden or fan-
ciful scenes of meadows, streams and willow trees. All
efforts to get him to write his name or initials on any
of his paintings failed. Curious that a mind that could
produce a painting faithful to nature, should lose its
identity to the extent of being unable to claim the author-
East of Chalons towards the front at varying inter-
vals about 12 miles back of the trenches are located a
number of ambulances which we visited. These field
hospitals are a series of low, wooden buildings located
usually in some hollow and further hidden from hostile
aviators by branches of trees placed on the roofs. Here
the wounded are received directly by automobile from
the Postes de Secours or dressing stations. There are
also bathing establishments where a regiment can be
A Trip to the Front.
cleaned up in a day. The soldiers get a hot shower bath
and a hair cut and have their clothes fumigated.
Beautifying the field hospitals are well kept flower
gardens. There are band stands for occasional concerts,
and reading rooms and small theatres are provided for the
poilus. Near the entrance to one of the buildings was
a large hole made by a bomb dropped a few days ago by
a hostile aviator. Close at hand is always the little ceme-
tery with the graves close together marked by white
crosses. One of the ambulances occupies an old farm,
and its old stone buildings, stables and box-stalls have
been converted into a well equipped institution.
Of special interest was an automobile field hospital.
This was well ecpiipped and so arranged that everything
could be packed in trucks and moved to any desired loca-
tion. Electricity was furnished by a dynamo run by a
truck engine and the X-ray apparatus was similarly sup-
All these sights were very interesting but the prox-
imity to the trenches made me all the more anxious to
visit them. I interviewed my conductor on the subject
and asked him why I couldn't get permission to go. He
said "Because we don't want a shell to come along and
take yovir head off." He added that he had not been to
the trenches himself as the work there is done by the
younger men. I then asked him if he would go to the
Ouartier-General and ask permission for me. He po-
litely told me he would introduce me, but would rather
that I spoke for myself. To my complaint that I could
hardly speak French well enough to address a general
he smiled and said that I could make myself well under-
stood. I then prepared my speech and rehearsed it to the
colonel on our way to headquarters. When we arrived
at General Gouraud's Etat Major we were formally sa-
luted by the sentinel on duty as we entered the modest
brick building. We received word that General Gouraud
was absent but that his Chief of Staff would see us. An
orderly, after a short wait, ushered us into a plainly fur-
128 With the American Ambulance in France.
nished room, the walls covered with maps, where we- were
received by the Chief of Staff, an elderly, dignified man.
After being introduced by the Colonel I made my speech
and thanks to my preparation got through it quite well.
The General listened seriously to what I had to say and
then told me that he would present my request to the
Commanding General, who alone could give the necessary
permission. An answer would be sent me to the hotel.
That night about half-past nine, as I was sitting in the
hotel dining room chatting with some officers, a soldier
entered and presented me with a letter by hand, as he
was instructed. I almost hesitated to open the letter, feel-
ing sure that my request would meet a polite refusal.
However, much to my joy the letter said that Capt.
would have the honor to call for me at half-past
seven the next morning.
The next day was one of the most exciting of my life.
The excitement started in at five o'clock in the morning
when I was awakened by the noise of cannon rattling the
window frames. I ran to the window and looked out
and there, racing across the clear, blue sky, was a tiny
black object. The cannon were firing at it and making
the peculiar hollow sound they make when shooting in
the air. The shells were exploding with their decisive
little pop around the Taube and at once the rounded,
white clouds appeared near the aeroplane. I counted
twenty-seven of these rounded clouds, forming a track
across the clear, blue heaven, but none of the shells hit
the Taube, although they seemed to come very close to it.
It was an interesting and spectacular sight. Three
bombs were dropped by the German but did little dam-
age. However, previous attempts had been more suc-
cessful. On the main street near the hotel were the ruins
of a house completely demolished by a bomb. Another
bomb had dropped in the street in front of the cathe-
dral and had broken some of the stained glass windows
and peppered the walls of the adjacent buildings.
Long before half past seven I was walking up and
A Trip to the Front.
down before the hotel. Just at the hour a long, rakish,
military car drove up and a trim officer jumped out and
we introduced ourselves with the usual formalities.
In company with several officers we started off at a
great rate of speed due North. One of the first thing's I
noticed was a Winchester rifle strapped to the back of
the front seat. On the outskirts of Chalons we were
stopped by sentinels and our pass carefully scrutinized.
Five miles from Chalons we came to the village of Le-
pine, completely burned by the Germans in their retreat
after the battle of the Mafne, with the exception of the
remarkably beautiful church.
From there on a scene of great activity prevailed. We
passed companies of troops coming back from the
trenches — tired and dusty poilus. There were vehicles of
most every description passing along the road — great
ammunition camions, motor trucks laden with supplies,
army wagons, cannon, armored cars, movable kitchens,
water carts, motor cyclists and even a special motor
truck for a carrier pigeon equipment. Along the road
were well arranged water stations where the wants of
man and beast could be supplied. From time to time we
passed forges, where horses and mules were being shod
and broken wagons and artillery carriages were being
repaired. I wondered how the road stood all the traffic
and was in such good condition until 1 saw several gangs
of soldiers busily engaged in keeping it in repair. The
little villages near the road were full of soldiers, resting,
washing their clothes, reading, talking and smoking.
The activity of providing for a great army was every-
where apparent. There were great piles of hay along the
roadside, stacks of timber ready for the trenches, barbed
wire rolls heaped up in great piles, rows of shells, boxes
of many kinds of stores. Away off in a corral was a
herd of cattle which was to supply the army with fresh
beef. Military cars passed us going at a great rate of
speed and throwing up clouds of dust. Occasionally we
met detachments of cavalry.
130 With the American Ambulance in France.
As we sped on our route over the thirty-five kilometres
that separate Chalons from the front, we began to hear
cannon boom in the distance ahead of us. A huge captive
balloon, shaped like a sausage, could be seen miles away
over the plateau. I knew it was huge, because although it
was very high up, it looked enormous. I asked if it was
French and was told that it was a German balloon over the
German trenches but some distance back. This was my
first sight of the German side and the reality of things be-
gan to be impressive. Off on the left towards Rheims
three "saucissons" indicated to us where the French lines
were. At the rapid rate of speed we travelled, we soon
reached a little village sheltered behind a hill, where we
dismounted from our automobile. Here we were received
by the Major in charge and were equipped with steel
helmets and masks. I asked if these things were neces-
sary and was informed that there was no telling where
a shell would burst and, as for the masks, the gas would
travel five or six kilometres if the wind was favorable.
There was some difficulty in finding" a casque large
enough to fit me. Finally after trying several, one was
found which made a fair fit, but I found it heavy and
uncomfortable. However, I was very glad to wear it.
The gas mask was enclosed in a tin box and this I se-
curely fastened to my belt. Thus equipped we started for
Suippes, a short distance away. As we came in shell
range and saw the freshly made shell-holes and heard the
cannon's noise, now very loud, I must own to a feeling
of fear, and I believe that the man who says he has no
fear when he goes under fire for the first time is a liar.
At the same time along with the fear there was a feeling
of exhilaration and a desire to see it through.
We dashed through what was once the prosperous town
of Suippes, now badly battered by shell fire and deserted.
The only person to be seen on the long main street was
a priest hurrying along on foot. He was clad in a black
cassock and had a steel helmet on his head. We stopped
on the outskirts of Suippes at a small chateau hidden in
132 With the American Ambulance in France.
a grove of woods. Needless to say this was used as a
hospital for badly wounded men, too badly damaged to
stand further transportation. The cellar of the building-
was in readiness to be used in case the bombardment be-
came dangerous. The Medecin-Chef received us cor-
dially, and served champagne, tea and cakes in the gar-
den. He said that an hour before two German shells had
passed over the trees and fallen in the fields on the other
side of the garden. The cannon at three miles from the
trenches sounded pretty loud to me, but no one seemed in
the least concerned. The officers chatted over their re-
freshments and asked me questions about the American
Ambulance. I heard two officers having an animated
discussion and thought that it must be news of a German
attack ahead of us, or at least an account of a trench
raid. When I listened to what they said I was relieved
and perhaps disappointed to learn that they were dis-
cussing the merits of an aria of a recent opera !
In one of Gouverneur Morris' writings he brings out
the attitude of the French soldiers to danger as illus-
trated by Dumas' famous character Athos. He may be
excitable over the ordinary episodes of life, but when
real danger comes his nerves are like cold steel. And
so it seemed to me on my visit to the front. The ex-
pressed vivacity of the commonplace existence is replaced
by a calmness and determination of spirit as danger is
approached. It seemed as if every man from the day he
was mobilized had devoted his life to his country and
every day that he was spared meant one more day of
grace. If death came, as it surely would to many of
them, it would find them calm and ready.
After thanking our host for his hospitality, we climbed
into another automobile which was protected to the ex-
tent of being roofed over and covered in on all sides with
little windows in the walls. As we passed out of Suippes
it was reassuring to see the peasants gathering their crops
within shell-fire range. The road now ran straight as
a die for the Xorth. The roadway, partly lined with trees,
A Trip to the Front.
some of them smashed hy shells, was narrow and de-
serted. Between the tree trunks wires had heen strung
and interwoven with cut branches which partially hid
from the enemy's vision any body of troops or vehicles.
My eyes were glued to the little window and what I could
see through the narrow aperture and through rifts in
the protective barriers of branches looked something like
The great plain of Champagne stretched out before us.
On the left the mountains of Rheims appeared in the
distance. On the right the plateau stretched off into
space as far as the eye could see. The country was al-
most flat. There were low rises of ground, hardly to be
called hills. There was not a sign of a living thing ex-
cept for one weary looking poilu, who was resting with
his back against a tree along the wayside. Not a house
or a tree was standing in the distance. The whole coun-
try looked as if it had been clawed by some immense
giant in his rage. There were lines of trenches running
in bewildering directions, barbed wire entanglements,
great shell-holes. A little grass grew here and there —
the rest was the grayish white clay of Champagne. Our
car lost no time in covering the three miles, and before
I realized where we were, we passed through the ruined
village of Souain and stopped behind a protecting bank.
Right at hand in the bank was a doorway and stairs
leading to a "Poste de Secours." The Medecin-Chef re-
ceived us and proudly showed us his subterranean hos-
pital. It was more than a dressing station. It was a
hospital where badly wounded men, especially abdominal
cases, could be operated on right away without the dam-
age of transportation and loss of precious time. The
Major had a right to be proud of his institution, as it w as
splendid in every way. Deep in the earth, well protected
from shells, were a series of corridors with rooms lead-
ing off from them with cement floors, walls of wood
lined with tin painted white, and lighted by electricity and
acetylene gas. There were operating rooms, X-ray room,
134 With the American Ambulance in France.
wards for patients, kitchen and store rooms, all complete.
Here the wounded are carried, walk or crawl from the
firing trench by connecting trenches called "boyaux."
Wounded that can be transported are sent to the rear
by night in automobiles over the same road we had come.
Dinner was being cooked when we arrived. The stove
was large and burned charcoal, the fumes making their
exit by a pipe leading through the roof and ending at
the ground level. Charcoal gives no smoke and tells no
tales. The night before as they were finishing some of
the construction, two shells dropped near the entrance,
the noise of the hammers having indicated the position
A fine spring of clear water was within easy reach of
the entrance. Towards the rear was all that was left
of the village of Souain. It was simply a disordered
mass of stones in hopeless confusion, a relic of the great
offensive in September, 1915.
When we climbed up on top of the bank along side
the entrance and looked ahead we saw, 1200 metres
away, a curving white line extending across the crest of
a little rise in a wavy outline. This was the first line of
German trenches. The French first line, nearer to us,
showed the same white curved line — white because all the
soil is a whitish clay. The "boyaux," also curving, led
down to our station. As far as the eye could see the ter-
rain was hopelessly clawed by pick and shovel and torn by
shell explosions. A few stumps of trees remained here
and there. There were booms of cannon at irregular
intervals — French 75 and 105 and German 105. It was
fascinating and thrilling. The day was bright and clear
without a breath of air stirring, and between the cannon
shots there was a death-like silence. One knew that
within the range of vision there were thousands of men
standing in those lines of trenches extended before us
and which stretched over 500 miles long from the Swiss
frontier to the North Sea. Yet there was not a sign of
life movement, and had it not been for the unceasing
.-i Trip to the Front.
explosions of the cannon one might have had the same
feeling of solitude as when looking over the barren old
lava flows of Hawaii. The artillery, so carefully hidden
that it could not be seen at all, added to the mystery of
it all. The earth and rocks thrown into the air by the
shell explosions was the only sign of movement. As we
looked out at the scene which to me was most fascinating
and thought-producing, a cannon suddenly banged — it
seemed right behind us. I looked around and could see
nothing but the ruined village. They told me it was a
soixante-quinze hidden in the ruins, but there was noth-
ing to be seen of men, cannon or smoke. It seemed like
a polite invitation to get down which we did at once.
Just then the German cannon started up furiously with
a different tone. "They are shooting at an aeroplane,"
said an officer without looking up. Sure enough, away
up over the lines, was a French aeroplane with shells
bursting around it. It seemed as if it must be struck,
but it was not and sailed majestically back to the rear.
It had come time to depart but I did not want to leave.
I was fascinated and at the same time bewildered. I
wanted more time to take it all in and comprehend it.
This was War as I had never seen it. For a year in
hospitals I had cared for wounded, torn by shells and
bullets, but here was where men were killed and lay
unburied and rotted in the sunshine. A magnificent test
of courage to stand up and face the foe with shells burst-
ing and death hovering everywhere, but why should
there be war? A curse on those who were responsible
We thanked our host, climbed into our car and went
back by the road we had come, past the ruined village,
past the poilu still resting with his back against a tree.
My eyes were glued to the small window as I looked out
on the vast scene of desolation and thought of the brave
boys lined up there in the trenches and of their mothers,
wives and sweethearts anxious in their homes throughout
the land. War seemed an unholy and wicked thing to me.
136 With the American Ambulance in Prance.
The sound o f the cannon gradually became dimmer
until as we approached Chalons we could hear it no more
and our visit to the trenches was only a very vivid
LEAVING FRANCE AND HOME AGAIN.
After a year's work among the wounded we came to
feel very much as if we belonged there. Neutrality was
only a form laid out by governmental decree. We were
heart and soul with France in her struggle. Conse-
quently the time of departure was a sad one. The night
before we were to leave, we were called into one of the
wards where all of the blesses who could move or be
moved had assembled as well as the staff. At the end
of the ward was a table draped with a French flag on
which reposed a beautiful large silver cup and a bunch of
roses. We were escorted down the ward to our seats at
the table to the accompaniment of much handclapping.
As soon as we were seated a sergeant read this speech so
full of delicate French expression.
Monsieur le Medecin-Chef.
C'est le coeur serre, que ce soir, je me permets de
prendre la parole, an nom de mes camarades, pour vous
faire nos adieux. Et pourtant, cher Docteur, je n'ai. ni
la capacite necessaire, ni les qualites d'un orateur, pour
vous exprimer comme je le voudrais. comme je le res-
sens : notre reconnaissance.
Yoici plus d'un an, que vous avez quitte votre patrie,
votre maison, vos interets et que vous avez traverse les
oceans pour nous apporter vos soins eclaires. Rien, ne
vous y obligeait : Neutre, vous pouviez suivre le conflit,
d'un oeil lointain. Mais votre conscience vous a indique
un devoir plus haut et vous avez voulu payer de votre
Quel joli o-este! Aussi, Docteur, combien nous vous
Pendant un an, vous vous etes penche sur nos souf-
frances, vous etes intervenu pour les guerir. Combien
d'entre ceux qui sont passes ici, vous doivent la vie !
En nieme temps, place a la tete de cette importante
formation, vous lui donniez une impulsion nouvelle et
vous lui faisiez atteindre son rendement maximum.
L' Ambulance Americaine de Juilly a ete pour nous une
grande famille. Aussi, a cote des impressions Horribles
de cette guerre, qui ensanglante presque l'Europe entiere
garderons nous, de notre sejour pres de vous, un souvenir
tres doux et ineffacable.
Je ne voudrais point terminer sans exprimer a Madame
Judd tout notre reconnaissance. Par ses bonnes paroles
et son charme, Madame Judd savait nous reconforter,
nous faisant oublier nos souff ranees, physiques et morales.
Permettez-moi, Docteur, de vous offrir ce souvenir, an
nom de tons.
C'est pen, en comparaison de ce que vous avez fait
pour nous. Puisse-t-il, vous rappeler quelques fois, vos
petits blesses de Juilly.
Dans quelques jours, cher Docteur, vous serez de
l'autre cote le 1'ocean. mais soyez persuade, que jamais
nous ne vous oublierons et souvent notre coeur ira vous
rejoindre dans cette Amerique que nous ne connaissons
pas, mais que nous avons appris a aimer.
Vive I' Amerique.
Vive La France.
He then presented us with the loving cup and roses.
It was then my turn, but with such a lump in my throat,
it would have been difficult to have responded in my
native tongue. I got through it some way and tried to
tell the three hundred French people present that America
had not forgotten what Lafayette and his comrades had
done for us in our dark days, that victory would come
for the side of right and that France would fight on, as
she had in the past, until the invader was driven out.
138 With the American Ambulance in France.
That we had come from the far-off islands of the Pacific
to show our sympathy for the cause of France and to
work for her brave wounded soldiers. Now that it had
come time for us to depart we would carry with us price-
less memories of our friends, the poilus.
During" our last few hours at the ambulance we made
our farewell call on the Mayor, and then shook hands
and said goodby to every one of the poilus. As many
as could accompanied us to the doorway where, as we
entered our automobile, a farewell cheer was given us.
There were tears too in many an eye and our eyes were
not dry. We felt as if we were leaving a home and dear
friends in a great struggle.
It is easier to get out of France than to enter it. Our
American passports were vised at the consulate, then at
the Prefecture of Police our "permis de sejour" were
taken up and permission to depart was authorized on our
passports. There remained the trip to Bordeaux, with its
charming views of the Loire valley, Cathedral of Orleans,
Chateaux of Blois and Amboise.
About the only sign of war were husky, well-fed Ger-
man prisoners working along the railway. At Bordeaux
the passports had to be again stamped and we bade fare-
well to good French cooking by a dinner at the famous
The "Lafayette" lay at a quai piled high with an end-
less amount of freight from America. We pulled out at
midnight and by daybreak we were at the mouth of the
Garonne and plunged at once into the swell of the Bay
of Biscay. The green shores of France gradually faded
away in the distance. Xo destroyers accompanied us.
Our good ship's speed and the rough waters were our
best protection. The ship was crowded and there were
some famous people aboard. It was not a gay crowd and
even the usual concert was omitted. Life preservers were
kept handy and there was a general feeling of relief
after the second day of our voyage was ended success-
full}-. Nothing occurred to mark the trip until the last
Leaving France and Home Again.
day out. When we were sitting- out on deck in the after-
noon we suddenly noticed that the sun, which had been
shining in our faces, now shone over our shoulders.
Looking- astern we could see a wide curved streak made
by the change in our course. At once rumors flew about
the ship— "The Kronprinzessin Cecelie had escaped and
was after us. "A woman passenger had received a
wireless telling her to wear her life-preserver day and
night." "A submarine had been sighted," etc. No in-
formation could be obtained from the officers. They
maintained their usual imperturbability. The look-out
men in the crow's nest were relieved frequently. The
gun crew were constantly on the watch. We could not
believe that danger threatened us right off our home
port. There was nothing to do that night but go to bed
with a feeling of uncertainty.
Early the next morning we were off Sandy Hook.
When the pilot came aboard we learned then for the first
time of the depredations of the U-S3, of the torpedoing of
passenger ships off our coast and of the rescue of women
and children from the icy waters. We were thankful to
have escaped a similar fate.
The city was hidden in a blanket of fog so that not
even the unique sky line of the "scrapers" could be seen.
The custom house examination is usually as disagreeable
as officiousness and lack of courtesy can make it and this
trip was no exception.
It was rather early in the morning and not one fa-
miliar face was to be seen on the dock. We were soon
plunged into the roar of New York. How different
everything seemed ! There were no uniforms on the
street and there were so many men ! Everyone was hur-
rying about his business and the war might have been on
At night Broadway was ablaze with lights, with gay
restaurants filled with people eating long course dinners.
The hotels were turning away people and visitors had to
seek accommodations in Jersey City or Brooklyn. Thea-
140 With the American Ambulance in France.
tres and cabarets were jammed with gay and thoughtless
crowds. Money was being spent like water. Much of
this money was war profits — the tears and agony of
Europe. I heard a well informed person say "The United
States has made $20 per capita out of the war and has
given less than 35 cents to France and Belgium."
Years of lack of education in our history and ideals
combined with apathy and careless living had done its
The American people as a whole little realized the pur-
poses of the war and the gravity of the situation. The
idea that the Allies were fighting our war, for our prin-
ciples of liberty and humanity and that America was
imperilled by Germany's lust for world conquest had en-
tered the heads of a very small proportion of our fellow
citizens. Instead of that the active propaganda for the
German language and "Kultur" in our schools, colleges
and legislatures, combined with the activities of the Ger-
man press and German organizations, had weakened the
development of a national opposition to Germany's plan
of world-empire. The pulpits were woefully deficient
in presenting to the people the moral issues of the war,
some pulpits even preaching a spirit of "peace at any
price." Public writers, teachers and professors neglected
their opportunity of bringing to the minds of America
what the tragedy of Europe meant.
There were some brave spirits who kept America's soul
burning as Theodore Roosevelt, Lyman Abbot, George
H. Putnam and James M. Beck, and noble women in
different parts of the land were working for the suffering
humanity of Europe. The 50,000 or so Americans in the
British Army, the Americans in the Foreign Legion, the
American aviators, the Ambulance drivers, doctors and
nurses all helped to keep alive in France a friendly feel-
ing for the United States and bring closer to our people
the cause they tried to serve.
We could not get used to the indifference and smug
self-satisfaction in the atmosphere. Will America never
Leaving France and Home Again.
wake up? Well, perhaps she will when more Americans
are murdered on the seas by the pirate's submarines, and
more of our rights are trampled on.
I listened impatiently one evening to a long argument
of an eloquent young minister against military training.
The gist of his argument was that we should not fight
until we were attacked and then all the men could be
called on. He failed to bring out what a happy slaughter
these unprepared defenders would make for the Huns.
The Pacifists at 3,000 miles away from the trenches
talked glibly about peace on earth, but when it was pro-
posed to them, none of them relished the idea of having
their children spitted on a Prussian bayonet.
During several months in the East I spent some time
raising money for ambulances. I found the Americans
generous when the good work that our boys were doing
at the front was brought to their attention. There was a
woeful lack of understanding of the situation. If the
American people were not ready to go into the war, it
was largely because the facts had not been properly pre-
sented to them.
If the realization of what the war meant was feeble in
Xew York, it faded away as one went West, until on the
Pacific coast we found that the war was almost an unu-
sual topic of conversation.
Again embarked on the ocean, this time with no fear
of German submarines, we sailed the Pacific until our
beloved islands came in sight and we were home again.
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